Some studies indicate that individuals who drink alcohol moderately (up to two
drinks/day for men and one drink/day for women) experience a lower incidence of
coronary heart disease than nondrinkers. Meta-analyses of cohort studies indicate
that on a graph, there is a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and
all-cause mortality, with reduced risk for low-volume drinkers compared to abstainers
and heavier drinkers. One such analysis found an increased risk for
abstainers and persons reporting more than three drinks per day and reduced risk
for lighter drinkers due almost entirely to lower risk of death from cardiovascular
Experts caution that observational studies may overestimate the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, and studies suggest that the J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality is an artifact. People decrease their alcohol
consumption as they age and become ill or frail or increase the use of medications.
If these occasional or former drinkers are included in the abstainer category
in prospective studies, it is suggested that it is not the absence of alcohol elevating
their risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) but, instead, their ill-health. Meta-analytic
results indicate that the few studies without this error found that abstainers and
light or moderate drinkers are at equal risk for all-cause and CHD mortality.
A 2016 analysis of 87 studies found that the apparent reduction of mortality among
light to moderate drinkers disappeared when former drinkers were eliminated from
the comparison group and the comparison group was limited to lifelong abstainers
and occasional drinkers. Furthermore, for cancer, cirrhosis, and many other diseases,
there is a linear increase in risk with increasing ingestion of alcohol.
The commonest heart arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, is associated with an increased
risk of stroke and death. A healthy lifestyle that features avoiding obesity, sedentary
living, diabetes, and consumption of alcohol can help prevent its onset.
Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption is strongly associated with the occurrence
of atrial fibrillation. However, even one drink a day is associated with a dose-dependent
8% increase in risk.
Although alcohol use has been advocated for its possible, but not fully proven beneficial
effects on cardiovascular health, it is an intoxicating, addictive, toxic, carcinogenic
drug and not a therapeutic agent. In the U.S. alcohol-associated annual
deaths total about 88,000 or 9.8% of all deaths. Alcohol-related costs to the U.S.
were estimated at $249 billion in 2010. According to Mozaffarian, drinking
alcohol is not a sound strategy to reduce CVD risk because of alcohol-related accidents,
homicides, and suicides, especially among younger adults, alcohol use has
an overall net adverse effect on mortality. The Chief Medical Officer of the
U.K. found that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel