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Alcohol and the heart.

The epidemiological asociation between moderate alcohol drinking and a lowered rate of heart disease has left researchers scrambling to explain the connection. A little alcohol has been found to lead to a higher blood level of HDL, the "good cholesterol," and in the May 17 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Stanford University researchers report that moderate alcohol intake--about 1.3 ounces of ethanol a day--is also associated with higher levels of apolipoprotein-1 (apo A-1). The protein is a component of HDL and, some scientists believe, may be a more accurate measure of the number of circulating HDL particles than measuring HDL alone.

The researchers, from the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention (SCRDP), studied the blood of 24 men who customarily drank up to three drinks a day. They had half the men abstain for a six-week period. While the blood levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and other factors related to heart disease didn't change in either group, the apo A-1 levels dropped.

That doesn't mean everyone should go out and start drinking. "It's true people who drink one or two drinks a day needn't be advised to quit drinking for their health," says Stephen Fortmann, head of SCRDP. "But we also don't advise people to start drinking for their health. There's not enough evidence for that." The alcohol/apo A-1 connection remains to be explained. Fortmann suggests the answer may lie in alcohol's effect on liver metabolism, since the liver makes HDL and apo A-1.
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Title Annotation:moderate drinking associated with lower rate of heart disease
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 1, 1985
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