Compared to non-drinkers, individuals who drink alcohol have a more favorable multisystem physiologic risk score as measured by allostatic load

AIMS: Alcohol use is associated with both positive and negative effects on individual cardiovascular risk factors, depending upon which risk factor is assessed. The present analysis uses a summative multisystem index of biologic risk, known as allostatic load (AL), to evaluate whether the overall balance of alcohol-associated positive and negative cardiovascular risk factors may be favorable or unfavorable.

METHODS: This analysis included 1255 adults from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) biomarker substudy. Participants, average age 54.5 (+/-11) years, were divided into 6 alcohol-use categories based on self-reported drinking habits. Current non-drinkers were classified as lifelong abstainers and former light drinkers, former moderate drinkers, or former heavy drinkers. Current alcohol users were classified as light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. A total AL score was calculated using 24 biomarkers grouped into 7 physiologic systems including cardiovascular, inflammation, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Mixed-effects regression models were fit to determine the relationship between alcohol use categories and AL with controls for covariates that may influence the relationship between alcohol use and AL.

RESULTS: 468 (37.6%) individuals were current non-drinkers while 776 (62.4%) were current drinkers. In adjusted mixed-effects regression models, all 3 groups of current drinkers had significantly lower average AL scores than the lifelong abstainer/former light drinker group (light: -0.23, 95% CI -0.40, -0.07, p < 0.01; moderate: -0.20, 95% CI -0.38, -0.02, p < 0.05; heavy: -0.30, 95% CI -0.57, -0.04, p < 0.05), while the average AL scores of former moderate and former heavy drinkers did not differ from the lifelong abstainer/former light drinker group.

CONCLUSIONS: Current alcohol use is associated cross-sectionally with a favorable multisystem physiologic score known to be associated with better long-term health outcomes, providing evidence in support of long-term health benefits related to alcohol consumption.

Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Goldwater, D.;Karlamangla, A.;Merkin, S. S.;Seeman, T.

  • Issue: PLoS One. 2019 Sep 30;14(9)
  • Published Date: 2019 Sep 30
  • More Information:

    For more information about this abstract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

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