05 December 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Problem drinking carries significant health burdens, including an increased risk of hypertension. The effect of chronic alcohol intake on blood pressure (BP) in women is understudied and poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to examine the relationships between drinking habits and BP in hypertensive women.

METHODS: We analyzed drinking habits in 113 women followed in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Hypertension Clinic for at least one year.

RESULTS: Among these women with well-controlled hypertension, baseline diastolic BP was significantly lower in moderate drinkers compared with women who rarely or never drank. Changes in both systolic and diastolic BP over 12 months showed a significant negative association with changes in percent drinking days. In contrast, there was a trend toward higher baseline systolic BP among those women who consumed more drinks per drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Among these women with controlled hypertension, our data failed to demonstrate an association between drinking beyond recommended limits and higher disease burden. These findings parallel the widely reported difference between drinking frequency, associated with a host of positive health outcomes, and drinking intensity, associated with negative outcomes. Novel to this report is an observed reduction in blood pressure over the one-year follow-up period accompanying an increased drinking frequency in treated hypertensive women. Cautions include the suggestion that a greater number of drinks per drinking day was associated with higher baseline pressure. These data imply that drinking within sensible limits has no negative impact on chronic hypertension. In fact, for women with well-controlled hypertension, such a habit may impart benefit.

29 October 2018 In Phenolic compounds

There is a growing body of evidence implicating the gut 'microbiome' role in overall human health. Bacterial species belonging to the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are generally considered to be beneficial and are commonly used in probiotic applications, whereas increases in some genera including Clostridum, Eubacterium and Bacteroides are implicated in negative health outcomes. Dietary polyphenols are bioactive compounds that have been found to increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria and antimicrobial actions against pathogenic bacteria, however most studies have been conducted in animal models or in-vitro colonic models. The aim of this systematic review was to provide an overview of recent trials on the effect of dietary grape and red wine polyphenols on the gut microbiota in humans. Following PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review was conducted of electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Wed of Science and Scopus) to identify human intervention trials examining the effect of grape or wine polyphenols on gut microbiota. Seven trials met the inclusion criteria. One study looked at changes in gut microbiota following the ingestion of de-alcoholised red wine or red wine, and six studies referred to gut microbiota as intermediates in formation of phenolic metabolites. All studies confirmed that ingested polyphenols from grape and red wine, were modulated by gut microbiota, increasing numbers of polyphenolic metabolites which were found in blood, urine, ileal fluid and faeces. Intake of polyphenols derived from grape and red wine can modulate gut microbiota and contribute to beneficial microbial ecology that can enhance human health benefits. Additionally, grape and red wine polyphenols were modulated by the gut microbiota and there is a potential for a two-way relationship between the gut microbiota and polyphenolic compounds. Nevertheless, additional research is required to fully understand the complex relationship between gut microbiota and dietary polyphenols before any health claims can be made in relation to human health.

29 October 2018 In Cancer

AIMS: The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between drinking and metabolically healthy status in men with normal weight, overweight and obesity.

METHODS: The subjects were Japanese men aged from 35 to 60 years (n=31781) and they were divided by daily amount of drinking (g ethanol) into light (< 22), moderate (>/=22 and <44), heavy (>/=44 and <66) and very heavy (>/=66) drinkers. Metabolically healthy subjects were defined as those without hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes.

RESULTS: The percentage of metabolically healthy subjects was much lower in the overweight (BMI>/=25 and <30) and obese (BMI>/=30) groups than in the normal weight group (BMI>/=18.5 and <25) and was much lower in the obese group than in the overweight group. In each of the normal weight and overweight groups, percentages of metabolically healthy subjects were significantly lower in heavy and very heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and were marginally significantly higher in light drinkers than in nondrinkers. The above associations between drinking and metabolically healthy status were confirmed by logistic regression analysis. In the obese group, the percentage of metabolically healthy subjects was significantly lower in regular drinkers (including all drinker categories) than in nondrinkers, and metabolically healthy subjects were rare (0.56%) among regular drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of absence and presence of overweight or obesity, excessive alcohol drinking is inversely associated with metabolically healthy status and should be avoided for prevention of cardiovascular disease.

27 September 2018 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Current research into alcohol consumption focuses predominantly on problematic drinkers and populations considered likely to engage in risky behaviours. Middle-aged drinkers are an under-researched group, despite emerging evidence that their regular drinking patterns may carry some risk.

METHODS: We searched Scopus, Ovid Medline, and Ovid PsycInfo for peer-reviewed, English-language publications appearing prior to 31 December 2015 and relating to the construction of alcohol consumption by middle-aged non-problematised drinkers. Thirteen papers were included in our thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Middle-aged non-problematised drinkers constructed their drinking practices by creating a narrative of normative drinking via discourses of gender, identity, play, and learning to drink. They also used drinking norms to construct their gender and identity. Health was not identified as a significant consideration for the population of interest when constructing alcohol consumption, except where drinking behaviours were likely to harm another.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that public health campaigns aimed at reducing alcohol consumption may be more effective if they focus on unacceptable drinking behaviours instead of personal health outcomes.

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