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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Red Wine a Day Produces Differing Heart Protection for Different People

One red wine daily may offer heart protection but death risk climbs after one

Jan. 31, 2012 – One of the most often discussed topics among wine drinkers is the widely held belief that a glass of red wine a day helps protect against heart disease. It is also one of the most researched of the health questions pertaining to alcohol consumption. Now, Canadian researchers think they have new insight to the answer.

"It's complicated," says Dr. Juergen Rehm, director of social and epidemiological research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

"While a cardio-protective association between alcohol use and ischemic heart disease exists, it cannot be assumed for all drinkers, even at low levels of intake."

 

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Alcohol Consumption by Elderly Reduces Risk of Dementia, Alzheimer’s

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Heavy Alcohol Drinking Spurs High-Grade Prostate Cancer, Stops Prevention by Finasteride

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 More links to reports on alcohol consumption below news story.


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The report on Dr. Rehm's meta-analysis, co-authored by Michael Roerecke, was recently published in the journal Addiction.

Based on 44 studies, the analyses used 38,627 ischemic heart disease events (including deaths) among 957,684 people.

Ischemic heart disease is a common cause of illness and death in the Western world. Symptoms are angina, heart pain, and heart failure.

"We see substantial variation across studies, in particular for an average consumption of one to two drinks a day," says Dr. Rehm.

The protective association may vary by gender, drinking patterns, and the specific health effects of interest. Differential risk curves were found by sex, with higher risk for morbidity and mortality in women.

Moreover, for any particular individual, the relationship between alcohol consumption and ischemic heart disease should not be isolated from other disease outcomes. Even at low levels, alcohol intake can have a detrimental effect on many other disease outcomes, including on several cancers.

"Even one drink a day increases risk of breast cancer, for example," says Dr. Rehm. "However, with as little as one drink a day, the net effect on mortality is still beneficial. After this, the net risk increases with every drink."

"If someone binge drinks even once a month, any health benefits from light to moderate drinking disappear." Binge drinking is defined more than four drinks on one occasion for women, and more than five for men.

Given the complex, potentially beneficial or detrimental effects of alcohol on ischemic heart disease in addition to the detrimental effects on other disease categories, any advice by physicians on individual drinking has to take the individual risk constellation (such as familial predisposition for certain diseases and behavior with respect to other risk factors) into consideration.

"More evidence on the overall benefit-risk ratio of average alcohol consumption in relation to ischemic heart disease and other diseases is needed in order to inform the general public or physicians about safe or low-risk drinking levels," the study concludes.

"Findings from this study support current low-risk drinking guidelines, if these recognize lower drinking limits for women."

Notes:

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reports it is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centers in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.

CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.


Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol

   ● What is a standard drink in the United States?

A standard drink is equal to 13.7 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in
      > 12-ounces of beer.
      > 8-ounces of malt liquor.
      > 5-ounces of wine.
      > 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).

   ● Is beer or wine safer to drink than liquor?

No. One 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. It is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.

   ● What does moderate drinking mean?
There is no one definition of moderate drinking, but generally the term is used to describe a lower-risk pattern of drinking. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,1 drinking in moderation is defined as having no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.

>> More at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Links to more Reports on Seniors and Alcohol in our Archives

Senior Citizens See Almost 40% Drop in Dementia Risk with Moderate Alcohol Drinking

Study of seniors age 75 and older confirms benefits of alcohol in preventing dementia that had been proven for middle aged adults - July 13, 2009


Older People Reduce Death Risk by 25 Percent with Daily Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Large study of people over age 55 says any way you look at it, moderate alcohol is beneficial

March 30, 2009


No Matter if Wine is Red or White, it Can Increase Beast Cancer Risk for Women

Large study shows breast cancer risk increase the same from wine, beer or liquor

March 9, 2009


Older People More Impaired by Social Drinking, More Likely to Think They are OK

It's not clear why but it seems to be a difference in alcohol metabolism: alcohol may affect the brain of older adults differently.

March 5, 2009


Million Women Study Finds Even Moderate Alcohol Consumption Increases Cancer Risk

Risk increases with increase in alcohol consumption and smoking, regardless of alcohol source, i.e., wine, spirits, etc.

Feb. 25, 2009


Drinking Alcohol May Protect Hearts in Older People but It Shrinks Their Brains

The more alcohol consumed, the smaller the total brain volume; stronger in women

Oct. 13, 2008


Red Wine Lowers Lung Cancer Risk in Older Men, Especially Smokers

Two percent lower lung cancer risk with each glass of red wine consumed per month

Oct. 7, 2008


Resverstrol in Red Wine Prevents Breast Cancer Development in Laboratory Study

Prevents first step when estrogen starts process that leads to cancer by blocking formation of DNA adducts

July 7, 2008


Resveratrol in Red Wine May Achieve Same Longevity Results as Starvation Dieting

Study important because it suggests that resveratrol and caloric restriction may govern the same master genetic pathways related to aging

June 4, 2008


Another Study Points to Higher Breast Cancer Risk from Alcohol for Older Women

The more older (postmenopausal) women drink the greater the risk

April 14, 2008


New Study Confirms Red Wine Antioxidant Kills Cancer

Researchers pinpoint how resveratrol induces pancreatic cancer cell death

March 26, 2008


Red Wine Element Reverses Pathways of Obesity That Cause Age-Related Diseases

Resveratrol previously found to extend lifespan of other organisms may help against heart disease, diabetes

November 2, 2006


Wine, Beer, Liquor It Doesn't Matter – Too Much Jumps Breast Cancer Risk

Three drinks of alcohol a day is as bad as smoking a pack a day

Sept. 27, 2007


Moderate Drinking May Boost Memory and Protect Against Alzheimer's

Research grows saying what we eat, drink impacts dementia

November 2, 2006

 

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