Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with hypertension. Does that mean lowering alcohol consumption can help decrease blood pressure? A recent Cochrane review looked at all the randomized controlled trials on this topic, but only found one that was of sufficient quality. The authors conclude that lowering alcohol consumption has no significant effect on blood pressure. However, the evidence is of very low quality because the results are only based on one study.
Alcohol is classified as a carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. An increased risk to develop cancer is mostly found with heavy alcohol consumption. It is less known what the effect of low alcohol consumption is. That is why a recently published review article looked at the evidence of existing meta-analyses on the matter. The authors conclude that there is no association between drinking less than one drink a day and cancer, except for an increased risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma. However, experts are critical about the current study.
A recently published meta-analysis finds an increased risk to develop esophageal cancer with alcohol consumption, starting from one glass a day. This confirms previous research. The increased risk is mostly due to a particular subtype of cancer, called esophageal squamous cell cancer. The association was present for each beverage type and both genders.
Extensive Cochrane review explores relationship between alcohol consumption and short-term changes in blood pressure and heart rate
A recently published Cochrane review explores how various levels of alcohol consumption affect blood pressure and heart rate on the short term. Results show that within hours, a low amount of alcohol does not affect blood pressure, but a moderate amount of alcohol lowers blood pressure. Both low and moderate amounts slightly increase heart rate on the short-term.
A meta-analysis, published in the journal nutrients, studies the relation between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer. Total alcohol consumption seems not associated with aggressive nor non-aggressive prostate cancer. However, looking at different types of alcoholic drinks, results show a wide variety of associations ranging from a decreased to increased risk.
The risk of hypertension seems to already increase with low levels of alcohol consumption. But are there possible differences for gender, race and alcoholic beverage? A recent meta-analysis finds that men and black people are at higher risk of hypertension with moderate alcohol consumption. Results also suggest that the risk of hypertension is higher when drinking liquor compared to wine and beer.
Thinking about alcohol: meta-analysis explores the relationship between alcohol consumption and the progression of dementia in people with mild cognitive impairment
Alcohol consumption is indisputably harmful to the developing brain, but what about the aging brain? Researchers investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption in people with mild cognitive impairment and people who progress to dementia. The meta-analysis, published in the journal of Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, shows an increased risk of dementia progression for heavy alcohol consumption, but no association for light to moderate drinking.
Meta-analysis finds no association between alcohol consumption and formation of blood clots in veins
Low to moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a decreased risk in cardiovascular diseases. But there is still limited research towards the relation between alcohol consumption and the risk of blood clot formation in veins, also called venous thromboembolism. A recently published meta-analysis, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, is the first one looking at this relation. Results suggest that there is no association between the two.
A lot of research has already been done towards the relation between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, and many studies – both epidemiological and experimental – find evidence for a possible protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption. But is this the case for all alcoholic beverages? For the first time, a meta-analysis, published in PLoS ONE, only looks at experimental studies with beer consumption. Results indicate improvement in vascular elasticity and the authors conclude that beneficial effect of beer on endothelial function is likely.
A recent meta-analysis, published in the scientific journal Systematic Reviews, did a thorough analysis on the relation between alcohol consumption and cognition. Results show slightly better cognition among women who drink in moderation compared to those who currently do not drink. However, the authors emphasize that it is unknown whether this is due to the alcohol itself or due to limitations in study designs.