Moderate drinking is healthy only for some people

November 10, 2014

The study included 618 Swedes with coronary heart disease and a control group of 3,000 healthy subjects. The subjects were assigned to various categories based on the amount of alcohol they consumed (ethanol intake). Meanwhile, they were tested in order to identify a particular genotype (CETP TaqIB) that previous studies had found to play a role in the health benefits of alcohol consumption.

Protective effect

The results, which have been published in Alcohol, confirm the findings of the earlier studies. Moderate consumption of alcohol helps protect people with the genotype against coronary heart disease.

"In other words, moderate drinking has a protective effect among only 15% of the general population," says Professor Dag Thelle, Professor Emeritus at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

Sweeping advice

Thus, the researchers believe that the advice frequently given about the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption is far too sweeping.

"Moderate drinking alone does not have a strong protective effect," says Professor Lauren Lissner, who also participated in the study. "Nor does this particular genotype. But the combination of the two appears to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

Unknown mechanisms

The genotype codes for the Cholesterylester transfer protein (CETP), which affects the 'good,' cardio-protective HDL cholesterol that helps remove excess lipids from the blood vessels. One hypothesis is that alcohol somehow affects the CETP in a way that benefits HDL cholesterol.

A second hypothesis is that alcohol contains healthy, protective antioxidants.

The researchers believe that one or both of the hypotheses may prove correct, but the mechanisms by which HDL cholesterol or antioxidants might act remain unknown.

"Our study represents a step in the right direction," Professor Thelle says, "but a lot more research is needed. Assuming that we are able to describe these mechanisms, it may be a simple matter one day to perform genetic testing and determine whether someone belongs to the lucky 15%. That would be useful to know when offering advice on healthy alcohol consumption. But the most important thing is to identify new means of using the body's resources to prevent coronary heart disease."
-end-
The article CETP TaqIB genotype modifies the association between alcohol and coronary heart disease: The INTERGENE case-control study was published online in Alcohol on September 17, by lead author Kirsten Mehlig and colleagues.

Link to article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0741832914200565

Contact:

Professor Dag Thelle, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
phone +46 709-458024
epidag@gmail.com

Professor Lauren Lissner, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
phone +46 31-7866847, +46 708-207343
lauren.lissner@gu.se

University of Gothenburg

Related Blood Vessels Articles from Brightsurf:

Biofriendly protocells pump up blood vessels
In a new study published today in Nature Chemistry, Professor Stephen Mann and Dr Mei Li from Bristol's School of Chemistry, together with Associate Professor Jianbo Liu and colleagues at Hunan University and Central South University in China, prepared synthetic protocells coated in red blood cell fragments for use as nitric oxide generating bio-bots within blood vessels.

Specific and rapid expansion of blood vessels
Upon a heart infarct or stroke, rapid restoration of blood flow, and oxygen delivery to the hypo perfused regions is of eminent importance to prevent further damage to heart or brain.

Flexible and biodegradable electronic blood vessels
Researchers in China and Switzerland have developed electronic blood vessels that can be actively tuned to address subtle changes in the body after implantation.

Lumpy proteins stiffen blood vessels of the brain
Deposits of a protein called ''Medin'', which manifest in virtually all older adults, reduce the elasticity of blood vessels during aging and hence may be a risk factor for vascular dementia.

Cancer cells take over blood vessels to spread
In laboratory studies, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins University researchers observed a key step in how cancer cells may spread from a primary tumor to a distant site within the body, a process known as metastasis.

Novel function of platelets in tumor blood vessels found
Scientists at Uppsala University have discovered a hitherto unknown function of blood platelets in cancer.

Blood vessels can make you fat, and yet fit
IBS scientists have reported Angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2) as a key driver that inhibits the accumulation of potbellies by enabling the proper transport of fatty acid into general circulation in blood vessels, thus preventing insulin resistance.

Brothers in arms: The brain and its blood vessels
The brain and its surrounding blood vessels exist in a close relationship.

Feeling the pressure: How blood vessels sense their environment
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba discovered that Thbs1 is a key extracellular mediator of mechanotransduction upon mechanical stress.

Human textiles to repair blood vessels
As the leading cause of mortality worldwide, cardiovascular diseases claim over 17 million lives each year, according to World Health Organization estimates.

Read More: Blood Vessels News and Blood Vessels Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.