Moderate Alcohol Intake Is Associated with Better Endothelial Function
Endothelial dysfunction, often assessed as flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, contributes to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Investigators in the population-based Northern Manhattan Study performed a cross-sectional analysis of lifetime alcohol intake and its association with FMD using high-resolution B-mode ultrasound images among 884 stroke-free participants. Mean age of subjects was 66.8 years; 57% were women, 67% were Hispanic, 17% were black, and 15% were white.
- Mean brachial FMD was 5.7% with a median of 5.5%.
- Compared with nondrinkers, those defined as moderate drinkers (>1 drink per month to 2 drinks per day) had higher values for FMD. In multivariable analyses adjusting for CVD risk factors including sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, Framingham risk score, and medication use, there was a positive relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and FMD above the median value (adjusted odds ratio, 1.8).
- No beneficial effect on FMD was seen for those who drank >2 drinks per day.