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Alcohol Alcohol. 2001 May-Jun;36(3):189-92.

Moderate alcohol consumption in social drinkers raises plasma homocysteine levels: a contradiction to the 'French Paradox'?

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany.


Evidence from observational studies suggests that elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. We assessed whether moderate alcohol intake in healthy social drinkers, suggested to be cardioprotective according to the 'French paradox', influences the cardiovascular risk factor homocysteine. A total of 60 normal nourished subjects who had no evidence of vascular disease or other risk factors for hyperhomocysteinaemia were assigned to receive mineral water or 30 g of alcohol per day (as beer, red wine or spirits) for a period of 6 weeks. Homocysteine levels of social drinkers, independent of which beverage was consumed, increased during the observation. We postulate that elevated levels of homocysteine in social drinkers with regular moderate alcohol intake are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, which contradicts the suggested cardioprotection of alcohol according to the 'French paradox'.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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