15 December 2016 In General Health

Alcohol is often consumed to reduce tension and improve mood when exposed to stressful situations. Previous studies showed that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce stress when alcohol is consumed prior to a stressor, but data on the effect of alcohol consumption after a mental stressor is limited. Therefore, our objective was to study whether moderate alcohol consumption immediately after a mental stressor attenuates the stress response. Twenty-four healthy men (age 21-40 y, BMI 18-27 kg/m2) participated in a placebo-controlled trial. They randomly consumed 2 cans (660 mL, approximately 26 g alcohol) of beer or alcohol-free beer immediately after a mental stressor (Stroop task and Trier Social Stress Test). Physiological and immunological stress response was measured by monitoring heart rate and repeated measures of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis), white blood cells and a set of cytokines. After a mental stressor, cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentrations were 100% and 176% more reduced at 60 min (P = 0.012 and P = 0.001, respectively) and 92% and 60% more reduced at 90 min (P < 0.001 and P = 0.056, respectively) after beer consumption as compared to alcohol-free beer consumption. Heart rate and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were not influenced by alcohol consumption. Plasma IL-8 concentrations remained lower during the stress recovery period after beer consumption than after alcohol-free beer consumption (P < 0.001). In conclusion, consumption of a moderate dose of alcohol after a mental stressor may facilitate recovery of the endocrine stress response as reflected by decreasing plasma ACTH and cortisol.

15 December 2016 In General Health

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Data regarding smoking and alcohol consumption and risk of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) are sparse and conflicting. We assessed the risk of major GIB associated with smoking and alcohol consumption in a large, prospective cohort.

METHODS: We prospectively studied 48,000 men in the Health Professional follow-up Study (HPFS) who were aged 40-75 years at baseline in 1986. We identified men with major GIB requiring hospitalization and/or blood transfusion via biennial questionnaires and chart review.

RESULTS: We documented 305 episodes of major GIB during 26 years of follow-up. Men who consumed >30 g/day of alcohol had a multivariable relative risk (RR) of 1.43 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.88-2.35; P for trend 0.006) for major GIB when compared with nondrinkers. Alcohol consumption appeared to be primarily related to upper GIB (multivariable RR for >30 g/day vs. nondrinkers was 1.35; 95% CI, 0.66-2.77; P for trend 0.02). Men who consumed >/= 5 drinks/week vs. < 1 drink/month of liquor had a multivariable RR of 1.72 (95% CI, 1.26-2.35, P for trend <0.001). Wine and beer were not significantly associated with major GIB. The risk of GIB associated with NSAIDs/aspirin use increased with greater alcohol consumption (multivariable RR 1.37; 95% CI, 0.85-2.19 for 1-14g/day of alcohol, RR 1.75; 95% CI, 1.07-2.88 for >/= 15g/day compared to nondrinkers). Smoking was not significantly associated with GIB.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption, but not smoking, was associated with an increased risk of major GIB. Associations were most notable for upper GIB associated with liquor intake. Alcohol appeared to potentiate the risk of NSAID-associated GIB.

27 October 2016 In Diabetes

The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is rising worldwide. Its association with alcohol intake, a major lifestyle factor, is unclear, particularly with respect to the influence of drinking with as opposed to outside of meals. We investigated the associations of different aspects of alcohol consumption with the metabolic syndrome and its components. In cross-sectional analyses of 14,375 active or retired civil servants (aged 35-74 years) participating in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil), we fitted logistic regression models to investigate interactions between the quantity of alcohol, the timing of its consumption with respect to meals, and the predominant beverage type in the association of alcohol consumption with the metabolic syndrome. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, educational level, income, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, smoking, body mass index, and physical activity, light consumption of alcoholic beverages with meals was inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome (/=14 drinks/week: OR = 1.60, 95%CI 1.29-1.98). Drinking predominantly wine, which occurred mostly with meals, was significantly related to a lower syndrome prevalence; drinking predominantly beer, most notably when outside of meals and in larger quantity, was frequently associated with a greater prevalence. In conclusion, the alcohol-metabolic syndrome association differs markedly depending on the relationship of intake to meals. Beverage preference-wine or beer-appears to underlie at least part of this difference. Notably, most alcohol was consumed in metabolically unfavorable type and timing. If further investigations extend these findings to clinically relevant endpoints, public policies should recommend that alcohol, when taken, should be preferably consumed with meals.

25 October 2016 In General Health

Drinking within recommended limits is highly prevalent in much of the world, and strong epidemiological associations exist between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of several major chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. In many cases, plausible biological mediators for these associations have been identified in randomized trials, but gold standard evidence that moderate drinking causes or prevents any chronic disease remains elusive and important concerns about available evidence have been raised. Although long-term randomized trials to test the observed associations have been termed impossible, clinical investigators have now successfully completed randomized trials of complex nutritional interventions in a variety of settings, along with trials of alcohol consumption itself of up to 2 years duration. The successful completion of these trials suggests that objections to the execution of a full-scale, long-term clinical trial of moderate drinking on chronic disease are increasingly untenable. We present potential lessons learned for such a trial and discuss key features to maximize its feasibility and value.

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