Moderate drinking may improve cholesterol levels – Research

A new research team – from Pennsylvania State University and Kailuan Hospital in China, the team recently presented their find­ings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Ses­sions 2016, in New Orleans, LA, has of­fered further support for the possible heart health benefits of moderate drinking, after findings show that consuming up to two al­coholic beverages daily may slow the decline of “good” high-density lipoprotein cho­lesterol,

and there are two types of cho­lesterol: low-density lipopro­tein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, LDL cholesterol can cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries at high levels – a condition known as athero­sclerosis. This can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

HDL cholesterol helps re­move LDL cholesterol from the arteries, carrying it back to liver, where it is broken down and removed from the body. This process can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, earning HDL the title of “good” cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic, optimal levels of HDL for both men and women are 1.6 millimoles per liter or above. Levels below 1.3 milli­moles per liter for women or 1 millimole per liter for men may raise the risk of high LDL cholesterol, and subsequent­ly, greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle interventions, such as adopting a healthy diet, en­gaging in physical activity, and quitting smoking, have been shown to increase HDL levels. Now, new research sug­gests moderate alcohol intake might also benefit HDL levels, and the team however said that further research is needed to determine whether moderate alcohol intake is beneficial for HDL cholesterol among oth­er populations, and to deter­mine whether the slower HDL reduction with alcohol con­sumption is associated with clinically relevant outcomes.

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