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Posted: Saturday, November 21 2009. 10:53

Bottle a Day Keeps Cardiologist Away

Drinking up to a bottle a wine a day can cut the risk of heart disease, says a controversial new Spanish study published in the journal Heart, which found that the risk of coronary heart disease, or CHD, decreases as alcohol consumption increases.

Dr. Larraitz Arriola, author of the study, found that drinking up to 11 units - or a bottle of red wine - reduced the risk of developing heart disease by 50%, according to Decanter.

The study was conducted in Spain, which has one of the lowest death rates from coronary heart disease.

''Our study confirms what many other studies have already said," says researcher Dr. Larraitz Arriola, of the Public Health Department of Gipuzkoa in San Sebastian, Spain. One difference, she says: is that researchers in the new study separated ex-drinkers from lifelong teetotalers in hopes of better understanding the alcohol- heart health connection.

Arriola and colleagues also found a beneficial effect of alcohol for women's heart health, she says, but it was not strong enough to be considered statistically significant. She suspects it's because of the relatively low number of women in the study who developed heart disease.

In the study, researchers evaluated more than 41,000 men and women enrolled in the ongoing European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) study. That study includes a half million adults living in 10 Western European countries.

In the current research looking at alcohol and heart health, the researchers evaluated 15,630 men and 25,808 women ages 29 to 69,  all free of heart disease at the beginning of the study, following them for a median of 10 years.

There have been many instances of medical practitioners openly promote the benefits of red wine. In 2003, Dr William McCrea had gained prominence after admitting prescribing two glasses of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon a day to 400 cardiac patients for two years.

But such research obviously does not study the negative effects of alcohol on diseases like cancer and organs like liver and kidneys etc. and can have dangerous repercussions, if not taken with a pinch of salt- actually a fistful of salt.

Indeed even Dr. Arriola suggests, ''I would not advise anybody to [start to] drink alcohol, because alcohol causes, as we mention in our paper, 1.8 million deaths a year" in addition to disabilities. "If somebody already drinks alcohol, then I would advise to drink moderately, eat healthy food, and do some exercise.

Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, righty, has warned people not to see this latest research as an excuse to binge drink. 'At the end of the day, you're juggling different risks and benefits, maybe helping your heart or maybe damaging your brain and liver.

The study reinforces our resolve and recommendation that moderation is the key-stick to 2-3 glasses of wine, preferably red-editor

       

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