Light To Moderate Alcohol Consumption Can Be Good For Your Heart, New Study Says

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Moderate Alcohol Consumption Benefits The Heart, New Study

Moderate alcohol consumption may hold a surprising secret to reducing the risk of heart disease: long-term reductions in stress signaling within the brain, according to groundbreaking research.

Researchers have discovered a potential explanation for the benefits of light drinking, and it appears that the effects primarily occur in the brain rather than through changes in the blood.

Previous studies have shown that alcohol in moderation is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to both complete abstinence and heavy drinking. However, the exact reasons behind this phenomenon have remained unclear.

Related: Alcohol And Anxiety: Does Drinking Help You Relax?

Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Does Light Drinking Benefits The Heart?

A group of cardiologists in Boston conducted a study to explore the impact of the brain on the relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Their findings revealed that individuals who consumed one to 14 drinks per week had a lower likelihood of experiencing heart attacks or strokes compared to those who consumed less than one drink per week.

Importantly, this association persisted even after accounting for various risk factors that could influence the results.

Brain scans of these individuals revealed that those who indulged in light to moderate drinking had reduced stress responses in the amygdala, the part of the brain involved in fear and threat processing. Notably, these individuals also had fewer incidents of cardiovascular events.

Related: Scared About Getting Clean And Sober? Don’t Be – Here Are 5 FAQs 

The study’s senior author, Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, explained that the initial effect of alcohol, before feeling intoxicated, is a sense of relaxation. The researchers discovered that the brain changes observed in light to moderate drinkers accounted for a significant portion of the protective cardiac effects.

This finding was particularly pronounced in individuals with a history of anxiety, where alcohol was twice as effective at reducing major adverse cardiac events. The study suggests that alcohol’s impact on the stress neural network, centered around the amygdala, plays a crucial role.

However, it is important to note that any amount of alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of cancer. Consequently, the researchers do not recommend alcohol consumption as a means of obtaining the cardiovascular benefits.

Instead, they propose that understanding this mechanism could lead to identifying healthier alternatives, such as exercise or meditation, to achieve similar benefits. Meditation has been shown to impact the stress neural network, while exercise has a positive, dose-related effect on reducing stress.

Some experts who were not involved in the study have raised concerns about its methods. They emphasized that alcohol consumption is associated with various negative health outcomes, including increased risks of cancer, stroke, heart failure, and cardiovascular-related deaths.

Therefore, focusing solely on the potential benefits of small amounts of alcohol consumption can perpetuate misleading information and old myths.

They argue that the study only demonstrates associations and cannot establish alcohol as the definitive cause of reduced stress in the brain among light drinkers.

Related: 4 Stages Of Quitting Alcohol And Navigating Sobriety

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