Alcohol consumption decreases the risk of heart attack with approximately 33%. That is the conclusion of a recent meta-analysis. The meta-analysis is published in the scientific journal Farmacia.

Meta-analysis
The current meta-analysis1 combined the results of 18 independent studies and concluded that alcohol is associated with a protective effect on heart attack (i.e. myocardial infarction). Daily alcohol consumers have a 33% lower risk on heart-attack than abstainers. When the alcohol consumption was less than 10 g/day, the relative risk declined rapidly.  When the alcohol consumption was between 10 and 35 g/day, the relative risk was relatively stable. Even heavy alcohol consumption (>35 – 96 g/day) was associated with a protective effect. However, the researchers advise to limit alcohol consumption to 30 g/day as higher intakes can increase the risk of other diseases.

In perspective
Although the protective effect of alcohol on cardiovascular disease is well-established, the relationship between alcohol and heart-attack remained controversial. The current meta-analysis combined all the research on this topic from 1980 and was therefore able to calculate the relative risk per consumption level. A meta-analysis therefore constitutes the strongest evidence for a relationship between nutrition and health. However, it is still questionable whether the results also apply to women as relatively few women participated in the analysed studies. More research on the relationship between alcohol consumption and heart-attack in women is needed.

Heart attack
2 million people die every day from heart-attacks2. A heart-attack is caused by a blockage of the arteries of the heart. Hereby, the heart does not receive enough oxygen which causes heart tissue to die. Risk factors for heart-attacks include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. 

References:

  1. Liu, J.; Zhy, Y.; Liu, Y., Liu, Y.; Luo, S.; Zhou, X.; Hao, Y. Correlation between alcohol consumption and myocardial infarction: dose-response meta-analysis of 18 cohort studies.
  2. Shi A., Tao Z., Wei P., Zhao J., Epidemiological aspects of heart diseases (Review). Exp. Ther. Med., 2016; 12(3): 1645-1650.

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