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Atherosclerosis. 2006 May;186(1):113-20. Epub 2005 Aug 1.

Moderate alcohol consumption and lower levels of inflammatory markers in US men and women.

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1
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. jpai@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with substantially lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed the relationship between alcohol intake and inflammatory markers to partially explain this beneficial effect.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

From two large prospective studies, we sampled 959 healthy male and 473 healthy female health professionals with reported alcohol intake. Markers of inflammation were soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptors 1 and 2 (sTNF-R1 and sTNF-R2), C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). We found significant inverse linear trends for sTNF-R1 (p-trend<0.001 men; 0.03 women) and sTNF-R2 (p-trend=0.002 men; 0.08 women) with increasing alcohol intake. Compared to non-drinkers, men who consumed on average 1-2 drinks/day had 26% lower CRP (-0.66 mg/L, p=0.13), and 36% lower IL-6 (-1.12 pg/ml, p=0.02) levels. Among women, a similar though stronger association was observed at half drink per day. Compared to non-drinkers, both men and women who consumed 1-2 drinks/drinking day had significantly lower sTNF-R1 (-9% in men, -6% in women) and sTNF-R2 (-7% in men, -6% in women) levels as well as lower CRP (-10% in men, -32% in women) and IL-6 (-45% in men, -27% in women) levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

Alcohol in moderation is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers and may lower risk of CVD through these mechanisms.

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