A new study shows alcohol consumption may benefit the cardiovascular system in seniors by lowering blood levels of inflammatory markers.
Researchers studied nearly 2,500 seniors ages 70 to 79 who consumed moderate levels of alcohol (one to seven drinks per week), consumed high levels of alcohol (more than eight drinks per week), and did not consume any alcohol.
Researchers say, their study is the first to focus on the association between alcohol intake and inflammatory markers such interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CPR), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1).
Results show moderate drinkers had the lowest levels of IL-6 and CPR in comparison to non-drinkers. However, those who consumed high levels of alcohol had higher levels of IL-6 and CPR in comparison to non-drinkers and moderate drinkers.
Specialists say, IL-6 and CPR are strong predictors of heart attacks and other poor health outcomes in middle-aged and older adults.The American Heart Association cautions individuals who do not currently consume alcohol to avoid starting to drink alcohol.
Thus researchers say their results suggest there may be a biological explanation for the link between alcohol consumption and heart disease.