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1 to 2 Servings of Alcohol Daily May Help Slow the Decline of Good Cholesterol

Nov 14, 2016 04:40 AM EST

A new study revealed that moderate consumption of alcohol may help slowdown the decline of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol, as people age.

The study, presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016, showed that people who moderately consume alcohol, about one to servings of alcohol for men and half to one servings of alcohol for women, experience a slower decline in their HDL levels, compared to non-drinkers and heavy drinkers.

For the study, the researchers followed the alcohol consumption and HDL levels of 80,000 healthy Chinese adults for more than six years. The participants were divided into groups depending on their self-reported drinking status, from never, to heavy drinker.

According to a press release, moderate consumption of alcohol experience the slowest decline in their HDL levels 0.17 mmol per year. On the other hand, heavy drinkers nearly eliminated the mitigating effect of alcohol to HDL levels with only .0008 mmol per year decline.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the kind of alcohol being consumed could influence the decline of HDL levels overtime. Among the types of alcohol, moderate beer consumption is associated with slower HDL declines. On the other hand, the beneficial effects of alcohol among the hard liquors might only be applicable to light to moderate drinkers.

With these findings, the researchers recommend moderate consumption of alcohol if a person is already a daily drinker. However, the researchers noted that self-medication using alcohol is not safe and non-daily drinkers of alcohol should first consult their doctors. Too much alcohol can be detrimental to your health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 to 2010. Excessive drinking was also responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-adults aged 20 to 64 years old.

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