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Association between alcohol and cardiovascular disease

Michael V. Holmes, Caroline E. Dale, Luisa Zuccolo, Richard J. Silverwood, Yiran Guo, Zheng Ye et al., on behalf of The InterAct Consortium

BMJ 2014;349:g4164

Editor's comment:
The results of this large (more than 260,000 participants) international study challenge the concept of a cardioprotective effect associated with light to moderate alcohol consumption reported in observational studies. In the absence of a viable randomised trial to confirm or refute the cardioprotective effect of light to moderate alcohol consumption, the authors followed an alternative approach in their study, using the ADH1B rs1229984 variant as an instrument to investigate the association of alcohol with cardiovascular biomarkers and events. In the study, individuals with a genetic predisposition to consume less alcohol were found to have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and ischaemic stroke, and lower levels of several established and emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This suggests that reduction of alcohol consumption, even for light to moderate drinkers, is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

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