How a small amount of alcohol helps the heart

Friday, May 7, 2021 (HealthDay News)

A new study suggests that a little alcohol may help protect your heart by reducing stress-related brain activity.

“It is believed that moderate amounts of alcohol can affect the brain, relax, reduce stress levels, and perhaps through these mechanisms to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease,” said Nuclear Cardiology. The lead author, Dr. Kenechuku Umezue, said. Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

His team analyzed data from more than 53,000 people in their late 50s, of whom more than 750 performed brain scans to detect stress-related activity.

Overall, 15% of participants experienced major heart events such as strokes and heart attacks. This includes 17% of self-reported low alcohol consumption (less than 1 drink per week) and 13% of moderate drinkers (1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks or less for men). I will.

Moderate drinkers had less stress-related brain activity and a 20% lower risk of major heart events than those with low alcohol intake.

The authors said this was the first study to show that moderate alcohol intake may help protect the heart by reducing stress-related brain signals.

They will present their findings at a virtual conference of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) on May 17. Studies presented at conferences are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“We found that stress-related activity in the brain was higher in non-drinkers than in moderate-drinkers, while those who drank too much. [more than 14 drinks per week] The stress-related brain activity was at the highest level. “

He said these findings should not encourage the use of alcohol. However, they can show the way to new drug treatments and prescriptions for stress-relieving activities such as exercise and yoga that help minimize stress signals in the brain.

“Current research suggests that moderate alcohol intake has a beneficial effect on the connection between the brain and the heart,” Mezue said. “But alcohol has some important side effects, such as cancer, liver damage, and an increased risk of addiction, so it has a better side effect profile that has a beneficial effect on the brain and heart pathways. Other intervention is needed. “

A related study by the same team presented at the ACC meeting found that exercise reduces heart risk as well as stress-related brain activity.

Researchers say that the more exercise you have, the greater the decrease in stress-related brain activity.

They said the relationship between stress and heart disease is widely accepted, but relatively few studies have investigated how reducing stress can help with heart health.

For more information

The National Institute of Cardiopulmonary Blood provides a guide to a healthy heart.

Source: American College of Cardiology, News Release, May 6, 2021

Robert Prite

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