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Hepatology. 2002 Apr;35(4):868-75.

Lower risk for alcohol-induced cirrhosis in wine drinkers.

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Copenhagen Centre for Prospective Population Studies, Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Although there is a well-known relationship between total alcohol intake and future risk for cirrhosis, other factors such as the type of alcohol consumed are sparsely studied. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of wine compared with other types of alcoholic beverages on risk for alcohol-induced cirrhosis. In 3 prospective studies, 30,630 participants from the Copenhagen area were followed-up for a total observation time of 417,325 person-years. Information on weekly intake of beer, wine, and spirits, and sex, age, body mass index, smoking habits, and education was obtained from questionnaires. The primary outcome measures were first admission or death, with alcohol-induced cirrhosis obtained from death certificates and from the National Hospital Discharge Register. Data were analyzed by means of multiplicative Poisson regression models. We confirmed the increasing risk for cirrhosis with increasing alcohol intake. Individuals who drank more than 5 drinks per day had a relative risk of 14 to 20 for developing cirrhosis compared with non- or light drinkers. However, compared with individuals who drank no wine (relative risk set at 1.0), individuals drinking 16% to 30% wine of their total intake had a relative risk of 0.4 (95% confidence limits, 0.3-0.6) and those drinking 51% or more of wine had a relative risk of 0.3 (95% confidence limits, 0.2-0.5) for developing cirrhosis. In conclusion, the results suggest that a high intake of all 3 types of alcohol conveys an increased risk for cirrhosis, but wine drinkers are at a lower risk than beer and spirits drinkers.

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