The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reported the findings that adults in their seventies who drank up to seven alcoholic beverages a day were likely to live longer and have fewer heart attacks.
The study was conducted on 2.487 men and women without heart diseases in 1997 and 1998. The subjects were followed for five years. The study found that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a 26% reduced risk of possible causes of mortality and almost 30% reduced risk of cardiac complications.
Researchers who conducted the study said, "Our findings provide evidence of a cardio protective effect and survival benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption among older people." They explained that they had made the subjects answer questions on their drinking habits and undertake a health check every year.
Classifying the subjects as 'never or occasional' drinkers who consumed less than one drink a week, 'light to moderate' who consumed 1-7 drinks or 'heavy' those who had mare than seven, they found that over an average of after 5-6 years of follow-up, 397 volunteers died and 383 experienced a cardiac event such as a heart attack or heart failure. The researchers when compared with never or occasional drinkers, those who drank lightly to moderately had a 26% lower risk of death and an almost 30 % reduced risk of cardiac events.
The researchers explaining that one can never though have too much of a good thing, said that heavy drinkers were very likely to die or suffer from a cardiac event than those who drank the least. The scientists are of the opinion that the
health effects of alcohol could be linked to the reduced levels of inflammation. They also but cautioned that this alone could not explain the extent of the benefit seen in the study.
They explained that it could be possible that alcohol also had cellular or molecular effects that decreased the risk of heart disease, or interacted with genetic factors in a protective way. But then again warned that the effects of alcohol might not be the same for every individual.
Dr Cinzia Maraldi from the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida, Gainesville, the lead author of the study and colleagues wrote in their study that, "The net benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption may vary as a function of sex, race and background cardiovascular risk. From this point of view, recommendations on alcohol consumption should be based, as any medical advice, on a careful evaluation of an individual's risks and benefits, in the context of adequate treatment and control of established cardiovascular risk factors."