Twenty-six episodes of ‘The A-Files’ will run throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode H looks at the myth that drinking has heart-health benefits.
Even a single glass of wine or beer can be damaging to the heart. I know, everyone has heard about wine being good for the heart in moderation. That has been discredited for more than a decade, even if a 2016 grape commercial still gives life to the heart-healthy myth. Red wine has resveratrol from the skin of the grapes. For the record, that substance is good for the heart. The alcohol in the wine negates the good.
The University College London and Pennsylvania University conducted no new experiments or studies for a piece appearing in the BMJ. Scientists instead analyzed 50 studies that looked at drinking habits and heart health, with data from more than a quarter-million people. They conclude: less alcohol is the only sure way to improve and protect heart health. “The best thing to do is to reduce consumption to reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease,” the lead researcher said.
Alcohol raids the body of vitamin B (Thiamin) which is essential for a healthy heart. B-deficiency enlarges the heart and creates distended neck veins. Alcohol metabolism’s byproduct, acetaldehyde, also physically weakens muscle, the heart being your body’s most important one. Acetaldehyde also increases cholesterol, especially triglycerides, by the way. The point on blood pressure sets up another legend, that moderate alcohol calms a person down and lowers blood pressure. Even modest alcohol consumption can cause blood pressure to increase, according to two studies conducted in Japan. Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan concluded that even very low alcohol consumption can be a health risk, raising the top number in a blood pressure reading 1.4 to 5.4 points on just a single drink. In second study, researchers from Kyushu University followed more than 1,100 people over age 40 for 10 years. One hundred men and 106 women developed hypertension, with the risk of developing hypertension higher for drinkers, even those who drank less than a drink daily.
Even if you’re skeptical about the findings of junk science vs. real science, it’s never been disputed that immediately after having a drink, blood pressure rises and blood platelets, which are essential for clotting, become stickier, increasing the risk of heart attack.