Discussion of the threshold value

DOSSIERS
Moderate drinking reduces the risk of heart and circulatory disease Moderate beer drinking is good for the heart and blood vessels
How much should you drink for the maximum protective effect?
How is this protective effect explained?
More scientific research required
Discussion of the threshold value
Women are more sensitive to alcohol than men
Age and alcohol consumption
Beer, wine or spirits?
Good news for diabetics

Researchers do not always seem to be on the same wavelength and sometimes reach different conclusions. This is to do with various factors that influence these study results, including age and sex of the trial subjects, the duration of the study, and the monitoring of the trial subjects, the country in which the study is done, etc.

Threshold value of two drinks a day:
Crique MH et al. Lipoproteines as mediators for the effects of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking on cardiovascular mortality. Results from the Lipid Research Clinics Follow-up Study; Am. Journal of Epidemiology 1987;126:629-37.

Threshold value of 3 drinks a day:
Yano K et al. Coffee, alcohol and risk of coronary heart disease among Japanese men living in Hawaii. New Engl Journal of Med 1977;297:405-409.

Threshold value of 4 drinks a day:
Boffetta P et al. Alcohol drinking and mortality among men enrolled in an American Cancer Society prospective study. Epidemiology 1990; 1:342-348.

Threshold value of 6 drinks a day:
Klatsky et al. Alcohol and mortality, a ten year Kaiser-Permanence experience. Ann Intern Med 1981;95:139-45.

The confusion over the number of drinks that still correlate with a favourable effect on the heart and blood vessels occurs among both doctors and consumers. This is shown by a survey that the Artsenkrant / Le Journal du M├ędecin did in 1998 among Belgian doctors (791) and consumers (1,201). This showed that nobody disputes that one glass of wine or beer a day is healthy for the heart and blood vessels, and that the average population believes that five glasses a day increases the risk. Where exactly the threshold lies between protection and risk, however, opinion was divided. 7% of doctors and 16% of consumers thought that the threshold was at two glasses a day. Almost half of doctors thought that four glasses a day was just about okay, and one in three doctors believed that the threshold was at six glasses. Finally 9% of doctors believed that the risk of heart and circulatory disease only increases as of nine glasses per day !

What can certainly be said is that by far the most studies point in the same direction: moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of heart and circulatory disease and mortality by heart and circulatory disease. Whether you can have two, three or four glasses a day is still being debated, however.

 

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