Trust Me-I’m a Doctor

23 03 2010

I am a big believer in verification. As The Buddha said, believe nothing even if he said it, if it does not agree with your own experience or common sense. Doctors actually telling you that you can/should have a glass or two of vino, as I did in the recent guest post at Partners in Wine, can be a bit controversial. Which means I get slack about it. Not to say, well, I told you so-but, well I told you so. You should trust me, I’m a Doctor. Here’s brand new data saying what by now you already know if you paid attention. But take note, you may need to educate your personal “health professional”.

New research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology lends “credence to the idea that light to moderate alcohol intake appears to be good for the heart.” In a meta analysis which combines eight studies encompassing 16,351 people with a history of heart disease the results showed  that the “ meta-analysis on cardiovascular mortality showed a J-shaped pooled curve with a significant maximal protection (average 22%) by alcohol at approximately 26 g/day. In the meta-analysis on mortality for any cause, J-shaped pooled curves were observed in the overall analysis (average maximal protection of 18% in the range of 5 to 10 g/day) and in all subgroups according to either the type of patients or the characteristics of the studies. ” This ranges correlate to about 1-3 drinks/day.

A completely different study looking at data from 1987 through 2002 found that in “9 nationally representative samples of U.S. adults, light and moderate alcohol consumption were inversely associated with CVD mortality, even when compared with lifetime abstainers, but consumption above recommended limits was not.” The volumes consumed in this study showing benefit were about 1 drink for women and two for men.

Now that’s something to drink about!

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6 responses

23 03 2010
Rebecca

good news for you he he

23 03 2010
whatscookingwithdoc

Good news for anyone who enjoys a cocktail!

24 03 2010
tasteofbeirut

I have one question: Are all your readers in the medical field? because you lost me until the very last few words: I am a woman, one glass of vino, OK. Wuff! Relief

O I forgot the point of my comment: you have come to the right place, sumac is used a lot in Lebanese cuisine, from fattoosh salad, to musakhan to kibbeh to all kinds of stuff. Keep posted!

24 03 2010
whatscookingwithdoc

Nope-that was taste of how the information is usually diseminated, I quoted the studies. Isn’t that horrible! Low down translation was from my post on partners in wine; 1-3 glasses of wine OK and actuially beneficial.
I will keep posted for the sumac update.
Thanks!

24 03 2010
Patrick

Thanks again for the interesting post, and good to know! Assuming these studies showed correlation, but not a causal relationship, it does bring up a couple of neat questions. Has it been found that balanced lifestyles, regular (healthy) social interactions, and low stress levels also help reduce the likelihood of cardiac events? It seems like these things might go hand-in-hand with moderate and responsible consumption of beautiful vino and a satisfying relationship with great food. This could skew the sample population in the studies (but may encourage us all to go out and further cultivate fine social dining as a gateway to a healthy happy life). Do you think someone with a high-stress or unbalanced lifestyle would still show the best protection at 1-3 glasses? Hope this wondering isn’t too far off base!

24 03 2010
whatscookingwithdoc

Great point Patrick,
In human studies like this the closest one gets to a true “control” group would be the abstainers. One can only infer causality based an equivalence in all other measured parameters except alcohol consumption. So, in the most stringent scientific context, you are absolutely correct; there is only a correlative relationship. I think, as you mention, the people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol are probably also the ones with the beneficial lifestyle.That would make it difficult to separate these as independent variables. If there was a “real” effect just from alcohol you may see the biggest reduction in the high stress group!
Wondering off base is the path to take my friend!

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