Light, moderate alcohol intake may protect against all-cause, CVD death
It appears that light and moderate consumption of alcohol may be protective against all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD)-specific mortality, suggests a recent study involving adults in the United States. On the other hand, heavy or binge drinking correlates with elevated risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.
Researchers included a total of 333,247 participants aged ≥18 years. They obtained data by linking 13 waves of the National Health Interview Surveys (1997 to 2009) to the National Heath Index records through 31 December 2011.
Self-reported alcohol intake patterns were classified into six groups: lifetime abstainers; lifetime infrequent drinkers; former drinkers; and current light, moderate or heavy drinkers. Secondary exposure included binge-drinking status of participants. All-cause, cancer or CVD mortality was the main outcome.
Of the participants, 34,754 died of all causes (including 8,947 and 8,427 CVD and cancer deaths, respectively) after a median follow-up of 8.2 years (2.7 million person-years).
Light or moderate alcohol drinkers had a reduced risk of mortality for all causes (light: hazard ratio [HR], 0.79; 95 percent CI, 0.76 to 0.82; moderate: HR, 0.78; 0.74 to 0.82) and CVD (light: HR, 0.74; 0.69 to 0.80; moderate: HR, 0.71; 0.64 to 0.78) compared with lifetime abstainers.
On the contrary, heavy alcohol consumers had a significantly increased risk of mortality for all cause (HR, 1.11; 1.04 to 1.19) and cancer (HR, 1.27; 1.13 to 1.42). Also, an association existed between binge drinking ≥1 day/week and increased risk of all-cause (HR, 1.13; 1.04 to 1.23) and cancer mortality (HR, 1.22; 1.05 to 1.41).