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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

There has been a debate within the world of health over the benefits, if any, of drinking alcohol moderately. There have been several studies over the years that claimed small amounts of alcohol could decrease your chances of cardiovascular problems. Eight published studies regarding the subject, which involved more than 16,000 heart patients, concluded that there are good signs that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of heart disease, by raising the level of "good" cholesterol. Kenneth J. Mukamal at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston led the research review.

The research group determined that people who drank alcohol moderately had a lower chance of dying from heart problems like stroke or disease; light drinkers risk was reduced by 31 percent, while moderate drinkers had any even lower risk at 38 percent. However, they are quick to point out that any drinking to the excess will cancel out the helping properties the alcohol may of had. Coupled with the review, there was another study done by Simona Costanzo of Catholic University in Campobasso, Italy. They determined, "Cardiovascular patients should be informed that low-to-moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink/day for women or up to 2 drinks/day for men) should not be harmful to their health". Costanzo's study echoed the American study regarding excessive drinking and it removing any chance of health benefits.

Alcohol is actually ethanol, which also powers things like automobiles; it is hard to see how ethanol, which is poisonous to the human body, could be good for you. What these studies fail to mention is the damage alcohol, even moderately consumed, is doing to other parts of your body. Maybe alcohol is good for your heart, but it is in no way good for your liver and even more importantly your brain. If doctors and scientist encourage people to drink in order to save their heart, we may have people start drinking who never should have been drinking in the first place, i.e. someone born with the disease of alcoholism, who cannot stop once they start. There is no question, at the end of the day it is probably safer to abstain from alcohol than it is trying to control it in order to save your heart.

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