This was due to research from an extensive range of studies, which have previously found that small amounts of alcohol can actually have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
But on July 10th, new research published by the British Medical Journal suggests just the opposite. It was written and supported by cardiovascular scientists, surgeons and statisticians from top Universities in London, Philadelphia, Bristol and the Netherlands, and it might just spell bad news for those of us who like a cheeky pint.
They analyzed over 56 different studies, which had tested a total of 260,000 drinkers and found that participants who carry a variant in the Alcohol Dehydrogenase 1B gene (or ADH1B) could benefit greatly from a total reduction in alcohol consumption.
“These findings suggest that reductions of alcohol consumption, even for light to moderate drinkers, may be beneficial for cardiovascular health.”
More precisely, for carriers of ADH1B, this research suggested that abstinence could be the pathway to not only reducing cardiovascular disease, but also attaining smaller waistlines and even lowering blood pressure.
So what is the ADH1B gene? Put simply, being ADH1B positive means your body processes alcohol differently. And how do know if you’re a carrier? Aside from genetic testing, there are some easy ways to work it out. The gene is usually found in people who have a reduced desire for alcohol and less of an urge to binge drink. Carriers may also have a tendency to flush or feel sick or after alcohol consumption and will find it psychologically easier to abstain.
So there’s good news and bad from this groundbreaking study, but it’s certainly not the end of the story. Dr Shannon Amoils from the British Heart Foundation points out: “Studies into alcohol consumption are fraught with difficulty, in part because they rely on people giving accurate accounts of their drinking habits.”
So which is it for you? Everything in moderation – or total abstinence? Regardless of the research results, listening to our bodies will ultimately determine whether things are good or bad for us.
So if alcohol makes you feel sick or flushed. It may be better to cut it out completely – and your heart could very well thank you for it.
(Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC)