People who have one or two drinks a day have more flexible arteries than non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. Researchers at the National Institute on Ageing Gerontology have found another of those U-shaped relationships for alcohol consumption and health. In the U-shaped relationship, light to moderate drinkers enjoy more health benefits than either abstainers or heavy drinkers. Arterial stiffness was measured by ultrasound in this study.
We already know that arterial stiffness increases with age and that this is a risk factor in heart disease. The researchers found that arterial stiffness of non-drinkers or heavy drinkers in the same age group was 12-33 per cent higher than for the moderate drinkers. The effect increased with age. But there was no relationship between alcohol consumption and arterial thickening, another heart disease risk factor.