Drinking alcohol has extremely different effects on the body depending on the amount you drink – and moderate consumption may even be helpful in fighting cardiovascular disease.
"Large epidemiological studies also point to a multitude of potential beneficial effects with chronic moderate alcohol consumption—defined here as up to two standard alcoholic drinks (44 mL spirits, 148 mL wine, or 355 mL beer) per day for men and up to one drink per day for women," a 2009 article in the BC Medical Journal said
Moderate alcohol consumption was found to be beneficial for vascular health and to lower coronary artery disease risk, the journal said.
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"The incidence of heart disease in those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol (no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women) is lower than in nondrinkers," the American Heart Association said
But all of the literature and research on alcohol and potential benefits from drinking stress how important it is to drink in moderate amounts. "In general, a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, and a 1 1/2-ounce shot of 80-proof spirits all contain the same amount of alcohol (one half ounce). each of these is considered a 'drink equivalent,'" a journal article in Circulation defined the amounts
Cardiovascular health, though, suffers in people who drink heavily or chronically drink more than the moderate amounts outlined above. A 2000 study found significant abnormalities in heart function, according to PubMed
. Physicians even diagnose "alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy," or damaged heart muscle, associated with alcoholism, which is defined as five to 20 years of more than six drinks per day, BCMJ said.
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol leads to high blood pressure, high triglycerides (a fat found in your blood that is a risk factor for heart disease), and heart failure, among other problems, the AHA said.
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