Effects of Red Wine and Vodka on Collateral-Dependent Perfusion and Cardiovascular Function in
Hypercholesterolemic Swine ,I>Circulation 126 September 2012 This study found that hypercholesterolemic
pigs fed red wine (Pinot Noir) or vodka with their food for 7 weeks had significantly increased blood flow to the
heart, with red wine having the most benefit. HDL (good cholesterol) was significantly increased in the two
alcohol-treated groups, while total cholesterol levels were unaffected. The author concludes that moderate
consumption of red wine and vodka may reduce cardiovascular risk by improving collateral-dependent
perfusion through different mechanisms and that red wine may offer increased cardioprotection related to its
Wine Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Events after Myocardial Infarction: Results from the
GISSI-Prevenzione Trial International J of Cardiology July 2011 (online) Among patients with established
heart disease, light to moderate wine consumption was associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular
events and total mortality as compared with non drinkers. The study did not prove that wine consumption
decreases the risk, but suggests that moderate wine intake is not harmful, and may be beneficial, in postmyocardial
infarction patients who already consume alcohol.
Long Term Alcohol Consumption in Relation to All-cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Among
Survivors of Myocardial Infarction: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study European Heart Journal
33 (13) 2012 This study was based on 50,000 men subjects. Pre-myocardial infarction and post-myocardial
infarction intakes of light and moderate amounts of alcohol were both associated with a lower risk of all-cause
mortality and cardiovascular mortality among men studied compared to abstainers. Long-term moderate
alcohol consumption is inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among men who
survived a first myocardial infarction. This U-shaped association may be strongest among individuals with less
impaired cardiac function after myocardial infarction. Although the study only observe men, associations tend
to be similar between chronic diseases and lower quantities of alcohol in women and an association is likely to
be observed for up to a drink a day for women.
Lowering the Alcohol Content of Red Wine Does Not Alter Its Cardiovascular Properties South African
Med Journal 102 (6) 2012 Moderate, regular consumption of red wine for ten days in rats is protective against
heart attack. In this study, heart attack was artificially induced by 30 minutes of ischemia followed by 30
minutes of re-perfusion. Treatment with wine improved left ventricular developed pressure function after reperfusion
compared to controls. The authors concluded that lowering the alcohol content from 12% to 6% in
wine did not alter its cardioprotective and antioxidant properties. Alcohol extracts alone do not provide
cardioprotective benefits, rather the polyphenols in wine probably provide this benefit. The authors reported
that moderate and regular consumption of lower alcohol wines may confer beneficial effects with possibly less
risks associated with traditional wines of higher alcohol content.
Dealcoholized Red Wine Decreases Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure and Increases Plasma Nitric
Oxide Circulation Research September 2012 This study evaluated the effects of red wine fractions (alcoholic
and non-alcoholic) on blood pressure and nitric oxide in humans at high cardiovascular risk. 67 men were
randomized into three treatment periods in a cross-over clinical trial with a common background diet plus red
wine, an equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine or gin, lasting 4 weeks with each intervention. It was
found that dealcoholized red wine decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure modestly possibly through a
nitric oxide-mediated mechanism. Modest decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure are associated
with a 14% and 20% reduction in coronary heart disease and stroke respectively. Therefore, the daily
consumption of dealcoholized red wine could be useful for the prevention of low to moderate hypertension.
The specific substances responsible for the observe effects were not identified.
Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Incident Atrial Fibrillation Among People with Cardiovascular
Disease CMAJ November 6, 2012 An analysis of the association of alcohol consumption with atrial fibrillation
among subjects with various forms of cardiovascular disease. The researchers used a broad definition of
‘moderate’ drinkers that was not consistent with the current definition. The International Scientific Forum on
Alcohol Research notes that heavy alcohol intake does increase the risk of atrial fibrillation but as far as
moderate drinking, the conclusions of the authors that even ‘moderate’ drinking leads to an increased risk of
atrial fibrillation after development of cardiovascular disease is unfounded. The association between atrial
fibrillation and moderate alcohol consumption is unclear.
Heavy Alcohol Intake and Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Characteristics and Effect on Outcome Neurology
11 (79) September 2012 Heavy drinkers are at a much greater risk for bleeding (intracerebral) stroke. This
small study of 540 French people with an average age of 71, found that people who drank three or more
alcoholic drinks per day had strokes almost a decade and a half before those who didn’t drink quite as much.
Heavy drinkers were also more likely to be smokers. The cause of the findings is not clear but it is known that
heavy drinkers are more likely to have high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for stroke.
There were two noteworthy papers published in 2012 that discounted the health benefits of alcohol and wine
The Alcohol Policy Coalition of Australia (APC) released a position paper indicating that red wine’s health
benefits are a myth. A press release from Kathy Bell, CEO of Heart Foundation, a member of the coalition,
said, “After reviewing all the scientific evidence it appears any positive effects of alcohol in reducing the risk of
cardiovascular disease have been hugely overestimated. In particular, red wine has no special protective
qualities when it relates to cardiovascular disease.” This caused quite an uproar since there was no new
research in the coalition’s statement to back their assertions. There continues to be a push by a number of
anti-alcohol groups in Australia to increase the tax on alcohol to reduce consumption.
The Cardioprotective Association of Average Alcohol Consumption and Ischemic Heart Disease: a
Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Addiction 107 (7) July 2012 From Toronto’s Center for Addiction and
Mental Health. The study looked at 44 international studies dating back 20 years that included 957,684
participants worldwide, and concluded that the cardioprotective association between alcohol use and ischemic
heart disease could not be assured for all drinkers, even at low levels of intake. The authors believe that some
research shows having one drink a day may be beneficial but anything more cancels out the positive effects.
They also stated that if someone binge drinks once a month, any health benefits from light to moderate
drinking disappear. Women were considered more at risk for heart disease and other ailments by drinking.
This review only indicates the need for more evidence on the overall benefit-risk ratio of average alcohol
consumption related to ischemic heart disease and other diseases.