Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beer May Reduce Heart Disease Risk?

If I can get excited about a 20% reduction in risk of colon cancer (from eating fiber), it's only fair that I get excited about a 42% reduction in risk of heart disease (from drinking beer). Yes, Ronald, Happy Thanksgiving:

Wine, Beer Or Spirit Drinking In Relation To Fatal And Non-Fatal Cardiovascular Events: A Meta-Analysis, European Journal of Epidemiology, November 2011

Here's the abstract:
"In previous studies evaluating whether different alcoholic beverages would protect against cardiovascular disease, a J-shaped relationship for increasing wine consumption and vascular risk was found; however a similar association for beer or spirits could not be established. An updated meta-analysis on the relationship between wine, beer or spirit consumption and vascular events was performed. Articles were retrieved through March 2011 by PubMed and EMBASE search and a weighed least-squares regression analysis pooled data derived from studies that gave quantitative estimation of the vascular risk associated with the alcoholic beverages. From 16 studies, evidence confirms a J-shaped relationship between wine intake and vascular risk. A significant maximal protection—average 31% (95% confidence interval (CI): 19–42%) was observed at 21 g/day of alcohol. Similarly, from 13 studies a J-shaped relationship was apparent for beer (maximal protection: 42% (95% CI: 19–58%) at 43 g/day of alcohol). From 12 studies reporting separate data on wine or beer consumption, two closely overlapping dose–response curves were obtained (maximal protection of 33% at 25 g/day of alcohol). This meta-analysis confirms the J-shaped association between wine consumption and vascular risk and provides, for the first time, evidence for a similar relationship between beer and vascular risk. In the meta-analysis of 10 studies on spirit consumption and vascular risk, no J-shaped relationship could be found."
A J-shaped curve means there was benefit for a limited intake of beer (43 grams of pure alcohol, the amount in about 3, 12-ounce beers) or wine (21 grams alcohol, about 7.5 ounces of wine). Amounts above this led to increased risk, so more was not better. In fact it was worse than drinking no beer or wine at all.

The maximum protection for wine was 31%.
The maximum protection for beer was 42%.
No association was seen for spirits.


Leo said...

The best blog post I've read all day!! ;) peace

Bix said...

Aw, happy to make you happy!

You know, we've had some microbrews that are pretty high in alcohol. But, oh god, one with rye was especially good.

RB said...

Impressive study. This makes me hoppy [sic]. I love a good glass of beer and this post gives me a reason to hoist on in celebration. Cheers!

Bix said...

hoppy :)