November 15, 2011
Beer May Have The Same Positive Cardiovascular Effects As Wine
A study conducted by Research Laboratories at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura “Giovanni Paolo II”, in Italy suggests that there are positive cardiovascular effects from beer consumption, much like wine is known to have in moderate amounts.
Published online by the European Journal of Epidemiology, the research pooled different scientific studies conducted worldwide in previous years to examine data involving over 200,000 people, for whom alcohol drinking habits were associated with cardiovascular disease.
The moderate consumption of wine is well known. With the consumption of approximately two glasses per day for men and one for women, the risk of cardiovascular disease lessens, up to 31 percent, when compared to non drinkers.
However, for the first time, evidence about the effects of beer have been shown. “In our research — explains Simona Costanzo, first author of the paper - we considered wine and beer separately: you first observe a reduction in cardiovascular risk with low to moderate drinking.”
“Then, with an increasing consumption, you can see that the advantage disappears, until the risk gets higher. The interesting part of our research is that, among the studies selected for this meta-analysis, there were 12 in which wine and beer consumption could be compared directly.”
“Using these data we were able to observe that the risk curves for the two beverages are closely overlapping”.
Beer and wine drinkers should refrain from rushing out to purchase large supplies of the beverages. “What we are talking about — says Augusto Di Castelnuovo, head of the Statistic Unit of Research Laboratories and a pioneer in alcohol epidemiological studies - is moderate and regular drinking.”
“I think we will never stress enough this concept. Wine or beer are part of a lifestyle. One glass can pair with healthy foods, eaten at proper time, maybe together with family of friends. There is no place for binge drinking or any other form of heavy consumption.”
One unanswered question in this research is this -- does the evidence we are observing derive from alcohol alone or from other substances contained in beverages? Wine and beer are different in composition, except for alcohol, so we could think this is the main player.
Both contain polyphenols, albeit different ones. Researchers will be looking at the results more closely in the future.
“A research like this - comments Giovanni de Gaetano, director of Research Laboratories at Fondazione “Giovanni Paolo II” — is part of a concept that our group strongly pursues: to look at people´s real life. Health and disease are conditions deriving from our lifestyle.”
“New therapies, new drugs, are extremely important. But a healthy life, with a strong attitude toward prevention, is the key element of the medicine in the years to come”.
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