Metabolic and Biochemical Effects of Alcohol Consumption
Researchers performed biochemical tests on serum from 8396 subjects (3750 men and 4646 women, aged 51 ± 13 years) who reported their alcohol consumption in the week preceding baseline blood collection. The analysis describes the cross-sectional relation between self-reported alcohol consumption and a variety of metabolic and biochemical factors. The study found:
- A linear increase in HDL-cholesterol and a linear decrease in insulin levels with increasing amounts of alcohol.
- For most other factors (including liver enzymes, triglycerides, blood glucose, and c-reactive protein levels) there was a “J-shaped” relation—lower values with light drinking and higher values with the consumption of larger amounts of alcohol—as well as threshold values at which heavier drinking began to show adverse effects.
- The most favorable values varied by the measure: lowest triglycerides at about 1 to 2 drinks/day, lowest c-reactive protein levels at about 1 drink/day, lowest blood sugar and alkaline phosphatase values at 1 to 3 drinks/day.