27 March 2020 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Light-to-moderate alcohol drinking reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease, and this effect of alcohol is mainly explained by alcohol-induced elevation of HDL cholesterol. Hypo-HDL cholesterolemia is a potent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to clarify how alcohol relates to cardiovascular risk factors in men with hypo-HDL-cholesterolemia.

METHODS: The subjects were middle-aged men with hypo-HDL cholesterolemia (< 40mg/dl), and they were divided into four groups by daily alcohol consumption (non-; light, < 22g ethanol/day; moderate, >/=22g ethanol and /=44g ethanol/day). Each risk factor was compared among the groups after adjustment for age and histories of smoking and regular exercise.

RESULTS: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, log-transformed lipid accumulation product and log-transformed cardio-metabolic index were significantly higher in moderate and heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers. Log-transformed triglycerides and triglycerides-to-HDL cholesterol ratio were significantly higher in light, moderate and heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and tended to be higher with an increase of alcohol intake. LDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol ratio were significantly lower in light, moderate and heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and tended to be lower with an increase of alcohol intake. The above trends for the relationships of alcohol drinking with the cardiovascular risk factors were also found in multivariate logistic regression analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: In men with hypo-HDL cholesterolemia, alcohol drinking shows positive associations with blood pressure and triglycerides and an inverse association with LDL cholesterol.

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 General Health

Ancient Greece was the cradle of the Mediterranean food tradition, characterized by the Mediterranean "eternal trinity" wheat - olive oil - wine, the very essence of the country's traditional agricultural and dietary regime, enriched by a culture of sharing and commensality. This food model, subsequently adopted and spread by the Romans, was rediscovered at the end of the Second World War by two American researchers, Leland Allbaugh and Ancel Keys. With the famous Seven Countries Study, Keys demonstrated for the first time that populations practicing a Mediterranean diet - such as the Greeks and southern Italians - showed low mortality rates from ischemic heart disease compared to the peoples of Northern Europe and North America. Since then, numerous subsequent epidemiological studies and randomized clinical trials have confirmed the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet both in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. This review will focus on the origins of the Mediterranean diet from its roots and its relationship to cardiovascular disease, with a brief overview of the nutritional mechanisms that influence atherosclerosis.

26 November 2019 In Diabetes

A growing interest has emerged in the beneficial effects of plant-based diets for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. The Mediterranean diet, one of the most widely evaluated dietary patterns in scientific literature, includes in its nutrients two fluid foods: olive oil, as the main source of fats, and a low-to-moderate consumption of wine, mainly red, particularly during meals. Current mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet include a reduction in inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, improvement in lipid profile, insulin sensitivity and endothelial function, as well as antithrombotic properties. Most of these effects are attributable to bioactive ingredients including polyphenols, mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Polyphenols are a heterogeneous group of phytochemicals containing phenol rings. The principal classes of red wine polyphenols include flavonols (quercetin and myricetin), flavanols (catechin and epicatechin), anthocyanin and stilbenes (resveratrol). Olive oil has at least 30 phenolic compounds. Among them, the main are simple phenols (tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol), secoroids and lignans. The present narrative review focuses on phenols, part of red wine and virgin olive oil, discussing the evidence of their effects on lipids, blood pressure, atheromatous plaque and glucose metabolism.

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