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Medical professionals are studying the effects of moderate alcohol consumption
In Germany, many people like to drink a so-called after-work beer. Is it possible that one beer a day has positive health effects on the human body? Researchers found that drinking alcohol moderately could reduce the risk of heart attack, angina, or heart failure.
Scientists from the internationally recognized University of Cambridge and University College London found in a study that consuming about one beer a day reduces the risk of multiple serious heart conditions. The doctors published the results of their study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Effects of moderate alcohol consumption
For their study, the experts examined over 1.93 million people in Great Britain. English doctors generally recommend in guidelines that people should not consume more than 14 units of alcohol a week. “The moderate consumption creates a protective effect for the human heart compared to non-drinking people,” the scientists explain. Previous studies had already shown that alcohol has a positive effect on healthy cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) in the blood. Effects on proteins associated with blood clotting have also been observed.
People with moderate alcohol consumption are less likely to have heart problems
Moderate drinkers do not show up as often with their doctor because of heart problems. Such people are less likely to suffer from angina pectoris, heart attack, heart failure, ischemic stroke and circulatory problems, the scientists explain. "We have found that moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases compared to non-drinkers," the experts report. Still, we shouldn't now encourage individuals to start drinking regularly to lower their risk, says study author Steven Bell from the University of Cambridge.
There are better ways than alcohol consumption to prevent heart disease
There are clearly safer and more effective ways to reduce cardiovascular risk - for example, increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, the doctors explain. These work without increased risks of alcohol-related damage (such as liver disease and cancer), which often occur with alcohol addiction, the study authors continue.
Alcohol guidelines should be revised
The current investigation was a so-called observational study. For this reason, no definitive conclusions can be drawn. However, the results are consistent with previous studies that have already been carried out. Four decades of epidemiological studies have largely found the same thing. The researchers concluded that the results should lead to a revision of the general alcohol guidelines.
The risks of alcohol consumption outweigh its benefits
Moderate alcohol consumption can have a positive impact on health. "But it is important to remember that the risks of alcohol consumption outweigh the benefits," the authors warn. The results are certainly not a reason to start drinking alcohol if you don't already drink alcohol, the experts explain. There are many more effective ways to improve your heart health, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and quitting smoking, doctors say. (as)