24 January 2020 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol has a hormetic physiological behavior that results in either increased or decreased cardiovascular risk depending on the amount consumed, drinking frequency, pattern of consumption, and the outcomes under study or even the type of alcoholic beverage consumed.

However, the vast majority of studies elucidating the role of alcohol in cardiovascular and in the global burden of disease relies on epidemiological studies of associative nature which carry several limitations. This is why the cardiovascular benefits of low-moderate alcohol consumption are being questioned and perhaps might have been overestimated.

Thus, the aim of this review was to critically discuss the current knowledge on the relationship between alcohol intake and cardiovascular disease. Besides new evidence associating low and moderate alcohol consumption with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, several questions remain unanswered related to the concrete amount of safe consumption, the type of alcoholic beverage, and the age-, sex-, and genetic/ethnical-specific differences in alcohol consumption.

26 November 2019 In Drinking Patterns

Most epidemiological research on alcohol as a risk factor is based on the assumption that outcomes are linked to pattern and level of alcohol exposure, where different beverages are converted into grams of ethanol. This review examines this basic assumption, that alcohol has the same impact, independent of beverage type.

We conducted a systematic search on comparative research of beverage-specific alcohol exposure and consequences. Research was divided by methodology (survey, case-control, cohort, time-series analyses, interventional research). Overall, many studies showed higher risks for spirits compared to beer or wine; however, most research was not controlled adequately for confounders such as patterns of drinking. While there is no conclusive evidence for spirits being associated with more harm, given the same pattern and level of alcohol exposure, some evidence supports for certain outcomes such as injuries and poisonings, a potential excess risk with spirits consumption due to rapid ethanol intake and intoxication.

Accordingly, encouraging people to opt for beverages with lower alcohol content via taxation strategies has the potential to reduce alcohol-attributable harm. This does not necessarily involve switching beverage type, but also can achieved within the same beverage category, by shifting from higher to lower concentration beverages.

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