The risk of heart disease can be reduced over the long run by consuming light to moderate amounts of alcohol, according to a recent study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
One drink every day for women and 1-2 drinks every day for men, according to research, is associated with decreased stress signals in the brain.
Researchers examined information from more than 50,000 participants in the Mass General Brigham Biobank to determine how and why earlier research suggested that light to moderate drinkers had a decreased chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
They discovered that light to moderate alcohol use was linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease events after controlling for genetic, lifestyle, clinical and socioeconomic variables.
The effects of alcohol intake on resting, stress-related neural network activity were then examined in a subgroup of 754 individuals who had previously undergone brain imaging.
Ahmed Tawakol, the lead author of the study, said, during a press release, that “We found that the brain changes in light to moderate drinkers explained a significant portion of the protective cardiac effects.”
Imaging for individuals who drank light to moderately revealed decreased stress signaling in the amygdala, the area of the brain linked to the stress response, as compared to those who drank little or no alcohol.
Tawakol went on to say that “When the amygdala is too alert and vigilant, the sympathetic nervous system is heightened, which drives up blood pressure and increases heart rate, and triggers the release of inflammatory cells. If the stress is chronic, the result is hypertension, increased inflammation, and a substantial risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
This is the first research to demonstrate the long-term neurobiological impacts of lowering activity, which might have a significant influence on the cardiovascular system.
It is previously known that alcohol reduces the amygdala’s response to dangerous stimuli.
Cardiologists caution that alcohol consumption’s risks should not be disregarded.
The study also discovered that drinking alcohol raises cancer risks at any level, and that drinking more than 14 drinks per week increases the chance of heart attacks and lowers general brain function.
“We are not advocating the use of alcohol to reduce the risk of suffering heart attacks or strokes because of other concerning effects of alcohol on health,” Tawakol said.
The findings of the study will be used to explore other strategies that might mimic alcohol’s beneficial benefits without the negative ones.