Close Menu

Study: ‘Drink a day keeps doctor away’

A single serving of wine or beer per day in middle age massively reduces the risk of heart failure, a study of around 15,000 drinkers suggests.

The study found that the highest risk was among former drinkers (Photo: db)

For men who drank up to seven alcoholic drinks a week during the study, the risk of heart failure was down by a 20% compared to those who completely abstain from alcohol. The benefit was slightly lower for women with the same level of consumption, at 16% lower risk. However, women already have a lower risk of heart failure than men

Researchers suggest that while the reasons behind the lower risk are unclear, a disproportionate level of “good” cholesterol existed in moderate drinkers.

Ethnicity, religion, habits and diet were also taken into consideration, but their roles in determining the risk of heart failure could not be found.

The research, published in the European Heart Journaldid warn of the risks of overconsumption, saying that the overall risk of dying rose with higher alcohol intake.

But moderate levels of drinking played a clear role in lowering the risk of heart failure, with the highest risk actually existing among former drinkers.

The study was led by teams at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where the researchers defined a drink as one containing 14g of alcohol – about 1.7 UK units, and equivalent to approximately one 125ml glass of wine, or slightly more than half a pint of beer.

The study’s participants, aged 45 to 64, were divided into abstainers, former drinkers, and people who consumed up to seven drinks a week. The other categories were those who had 7-14, 14-21, or 21 or more drinks a week.

The lowest rate of heart failure was in those consuming up to seven drinks a week, with about 0.77 cases of heart failure per 100 men a year, and 0.53 cases in women. In abstainers the rate rose to 1.02 for men and 0.79 for women. The rate of heart failure increased for anyone consuming more than seven drinks a week.

The highest rate of heart failure was in former drinkers, with about 1.5 cases per 100 men in that group per year, and 1.12 cases in women. Men who were former drinkers were 19 % more likely to develop heart failure than abstainers, while women were 17% more likely.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No