06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular diseases are among the worldwide leading causes of shorter life expectancy and loss of quality of life. Thus, any influence of diet or life habits on the cardiovascular system may have important implications for public health. Most world populations consume alcoholic beverages. Since alcohol may have both protective and harmful effects on cardiovascular health, the identification of biochemical mechanisms that could explain such paradoxical effects is warranted. The vascular endothelium is the target of important mediating pathways of differential ethanol concentrations, such as oxidative stress, lipoproteins, and insulin resistance. Alcohol-induced endothelial damage or protection may be related to the synthesis or action of several markers, such as nitric oxide, cortisol, endothelin-1, adhesion molecules, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and haemostatic factors. The expression of these markers is consistent with the J-shaped curve between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health. However, there is genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity in alcohol response, and despite the apparent beneficial biochemical effects of low doses of ethanol, there is not enough clinical and epidemiological evidence to allow the recommendation to consume alcoholic beverages for abstemious individuals. Considering the potential for addiction of alcoholic beverage consumption and other negative consequences of alcohol, it would be worthwhile to identify substances able to mimic the beneficial effects of low doses of ethanol without its adverse effects.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Since ancient times, people have attributed a variety of health benefits to moderate consumption of fermented beverages such as wine and beer, often without any scientific basis. There is evidence that excessive or binge alcohol consumption is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, as well as with work related and traffic accidents. On the contrary, at the moment, several epidemiological studies have suggested that moderate consumption of alcohol reduces overall mortality, mainly from coronary diseases. However, there are discrepancies regarding the specific effects of different types of beverages (wine, beer and spirits) on the cardiovascular system and cancer, and also whether the possible protective effects of alcoholic beverages are due to their alcoholic content (ethanol) or to their non-alcoholic components (mainly polyphenols). Epidemiological and clinical studies have pointed out that regular and moderate wine consumption (one to two glasses a day) is associated with decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, including colon, basal cell, ovarian, and prostate carcinoma. Moderate beer consumption has also been associated with these effects, but to a lesser degree, probably because of beer's lower phenolic content. These health benefits have mainly been attributed to an increase in antioxidant capacity, changes in lipid profiles, and the anti-inflammatory effects produced by these alcoholic beverages. This review summarizes the main protective effects on the cardiovascular system and cancer resulting from moderate wine and beer intake due mainly to their common components, alcohol and polyphenols.

06 May 2014 In Cancer

 

 

 

BACKGROUND: The consumption of alcohol is an underappreciated risk factor for a wide range of conditions. Overall, it is associated with high mortality rates and causes approximately 4% of all deaths worldwide. This study aimed to evaluate the general and cancer mortality in a cohort of subjects with alcohol addiction residing in Tuscany (Central Italy).

METHODS: Overall, 2,272 alcoholics (1,467 men and 805 women; mean age at first examination 43.8 years +/- 13.0), treated at the Alcohol Centre of Florence in the period April 1985 to September 2001, were followed until the end of the study period (median follow-up: 9.6 years). A total of 21,855 person-years were available for analyses. Expected deaths were estimated by using age, sex, and calendar-specific regional mortality rates. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.

RESULTS: Six hundred and thirty-six of the 2,272 patients (28.0%) died, yielding an SMR of 5.0 (95% CI: 4.6 to 5.4). The alcoholics had significantly elevated mortality risk from all malignant cancers (SMR = 3.8, 95% CI: 3.3 to 4.4) and a series of specific diseases (infections: SMR = 10.1, 95% CI: 4.8 to 21.1; diabetes: SMR = 3.6, 95% CI: 1.9 to 6.7; immunological system, including AIDS: SMR = 8.1, 95% CI: 4.1 to 16.2; nervous system: SMR = 3.5, 95% CI: 1.9 to 6.4; cardiovascular system: SMR = 2.4, 95% CI: 2.0 to 2.9; respiratory system: SMR = 5.8, 95% CI: 4.2 to 8.0; digestive system: SMR = 26.4, 95% CI: 22.6 to 30.8, including liver cirrhosis (SMR = 40.0, 95% CI: 33.9 to 47.1); violent causes: SMR = 6.6, 95% CI: 5.0 to 8.6). Among malignant cancers, the highest SMRs were found for cancers of the pharynx (SMR = 22.8, 95% CI: 9.5 to 54.8), oral cavity (SMR = 22.2, 95% CI: 13.2 to 37.6), liver (SMR = 13.5, 95% CI: 9.2 to 19.8), and larynx (SMR = 10.7, 95% CI: 5.8 to 19.9). Although women showed higher SMR in comparison with the general population of the area, their overall survival estimates during the follow-up were higher than those for male alcoholics.

CONCLUSIONS: This large series of Italian alcoholics showed a significant increase in total and cancer mortality in comparison with the general population, with female alcoholics reporting higher survival rates.

 

 

 

 

06 May 2014 In Cancer

 

 

 

Since ancient times, people have attributed a variety of health benefits to moderate consumption of fermented beverages such as wine and beer, often without any scientific basis. There is evidence that excessive or binge alcohol consumption is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, as well as with work related and traffic accidents. On the contrary, at the moment, several epidemiological studies have suggested that moderate consumption of alcohol reduces overall mortality, mainly from coronary diseases. However, there are discrepancies regarding the specific effects of different types of beverages (wine, beer and spirits) on the cardiovascular system and cancer, and also whether the possible protective effects of alcoholic beverages are due to their alcoholic content (ethanol) or to their non-alcoholic components (mainly polyphenols). Epidemiological and clinical studies have pointed out that regular and moderate wine consumption (one to two glasses a day) is associated with decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, including colon, basal cell, ovarian, and prostate carcinoma. Moderate beer consumption has also been associated with these effects, but to a lesser degree, probably because of beer's lower phenolic content. These health benefits have mainly been attributed to an increase in antioxidant capacity, changes in lipid profiles, and the anti-inflammatory effects produced by these alcoholic beverages. This review summarizes the main protective effects on the cardiovascular system and cancer resulting from moderate wine and beer intake due mainly to their common components, alcohol and polyphenols.

 

 

 

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