New study ties moderate beer drinking to lower heart attack risk

A beer a day may help keep heart attacks away, according to a group of Israeli researchers. In preliminary clinical studies of a group of men with coronary artery disease, the researchers showed that drinking one beer (12 ounces) a day for a month produced changes in blood chemistry that are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.

Their study adds to growing evidence that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of heart disease, the number one killer in the United States. Their findings are scheduled to appear in the Jan. 29 print edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Heart-healthy changes observed in the blood of the test participants following beer-drinking include decreased cholesterol levels, increased antioxidants and reduced levels of fibrinogen, a clot-producing protein, according to the researchers.

The study also showed, for the first time, that drinking alcoholic beverages causes structural changes in fibrinogen that make the clotting protein less active, says lead investigator Shela Gorinstein, Ph.D., a researcher with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Characterizing these structural changes of fibrinogen may one day serve as a new diagnostic indicator of heart attack risk, along with known risk indicators such as blood cholesterol and antioxidant levels, she says. Further studies are needed.

Forty-eight (48) men, ages 46-72, with coronary artery disease were divided evenly into two groups. Individuals in one group drank the equivalent of 12 ounces (one standard can or bottle) of beer a day for 30 consecutive days, while the others drank mineral water. Both groups ate a similar diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, during this period.

In 21 of the 24 patients in the beer-drinking group, the researchers found positive changes in blood chemicals that are assoc

Contact: Beverly Hassell
American Chemical Society

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