A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that moderate drinking may reduce the risk of heart disease in some individuals. The study was conducted over a 12-year period with 38,077 male doctors, who included dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists, aged 40 to 75 years. The study focused on the relationship between quantity and frequency of drinking.
The study showed that it was the frequency of drinking -- not the amount, the type of alcohol, or whether it was consumed with a meal -- that was the key factor in lowering risk. It was found that men who consumed alcohol three or four days a week had approximately two-thirds (68%) the risk of heart attack compared with men who drank less than once a week. Men who consumed alcohol five to seven days per week had slightly less (63%) risk. However, study data suggested that there was no additional cardiac benefit to those who drank more than two drinks per day.
The article though raising the morale of many alcohol consumers, included a warning from Claude Lenfant, MD, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, who warned that members of the public who do not already drink could try lowering their cholesterol levels and blood pressure as a better route to cardiovascular health.