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BMJ. 1996 Mar 23;312(7033):736-41.

Alcohol consumption, serum low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration, and risk of ischaemic heart disease: six year follow up in the Copenhagen male study.

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  • 1Copenhagen Male Study, Epidemiological Research Unit, State University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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  • BMJ 1996 Apr 20;312(7037):1007.



To investigate the interplay between use of alcohol, concentration of low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and risk of ischaemic heart disease.


Prospective study with controlling for several relevant confounders, including concentrations of other lipid fractions.


Copenhagen male study, Denmark.


2826 men aged 53-74 years without overt ischaemic heart disease.


Incidence of ischaemic heart disease during a six year follow up period.


172 men (6.1%) had a first ischaemic heart disease event. There was an overall inverse association between alcohol intake and risk of ischaemic heart disease. The association was highly dependent on concentration of low density lipoprotein cholesterol. In men with a high concentration (> or = 5.25 mmol/l) cumulative incidence rates of ischaemic heart disease were 16.4% for abstainers, 8.7% for those who drank 1-21 beverages a week, and 4.4% for those who drank 22 or more beverages a week. With abstainers as reference and after adjustment for confounders, corresponding relative risks (95% confidence interval) were 0.4 (0.2 to 1.0; P<0.05) and 0.2 (0.1 to 0.8; P<0.01). In men with a concentration <3.63 mmol/l use of alcohol was not associated with risk. The attributable risk (95% confidence interval) of ischaemic heart disease among men with concentrations > or = 3.63 mmol/l who abstained from drinking alcohol was 43% (10% to 64%).


In middle aged and elderly men the inverse association between alcohol consumption and risk of ischaemic heart disease is highly dependent on the concentration of low density lipoprotein cholesterol. These results support the suggestion that use of alcohol may in part explain the French paradox.

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