The benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have been discussed thoroughly, but it remained unclear how it would affect people who had already suffered a heart attack. Now US researchers have found that a daily consumption of between 10 and 29.9 grams of alcohol may lower the risk of suffering another stroke by 42%.
The scientists, led by Jennifer K Pai, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, followed up 1.818 men between 1986 and 2006 who had been heart attack victims before starting the study. Every four years they were asked questions regarding their dietary and alcohol habits. The results showed that people who drank moderately every day also reduced their death risk from any cause by 14%.
10 to 29.9 grams of alcohol is the equivalent of two glasses of wine, two bottles or cans of beer or one shot of spirits.
‘If the men were already consuming moderate amounts, then it may be beneficial to continue consuming moderate amounts of alcohol after a myocardial infarction,’ said Jennifer K Pai. ‘However, because excessive alcohol intake is harmful, we recommend that patients discuss drinking alcohol in moderation with their physicians to individually assess their risks and potential benefits.’
In the case of women, however, the amounts may be lower.
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Pai, J., Mukamal, K., & Rimm, E. (2012). Long-term alcohol consumption in relation to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among survivors of myocardial infarction: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study European Heart Journal DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs047