Previous studies suggest that alcohol in moderation may be good for your health, but new reports disagree. Is alcohol good for heart health? Let’s find out.
On January 20, 2022, the World Heart Federation (WHF) published a policy brief regarding alcohol and heart health.
“There is an impression in the population in general, and even among health care professionals, that it is good for the heart,” said Beatriz Champagne, chair of the advocacy committee that produced the brief. “It is not, and the evidence has increasingly shown that there is no level of alcohol consumption that is safe for health.”
Champagne is also executive director of the Coalition for Americas’ Health, an organization that focuses on improving health in the Americas.
Critics of the report pointed to the studies that show moderate alcohol intake may provide some small benefits. For instance, Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, highlights the WHF’s use of a 2018 study in The Lancet.
“Given that the WHF report references this paper, it is really odd that their conclusion is that ‘no amount of alcohol is good for the heart,” said Gakidou. “There are some scientific studies that support their headline, but based on my work on the Global Burden of Disease Study, which pulls together all the available evidence to date, [current scientific evidence does not support the WHF claim].”
Gakidou analyzes alcohol risks based on the Global Burden of Disease Study, which gathers worldwide data on premature death and disability from over 300 diseases. Based on the criticisms, the WHF updated their report to “more clearly articulate [their] conclusions and specifically cite the studies” that support these conclusions.
Champagne gave the following clarification:
- “In brief, our position is that studies showing a significant cardioprotective effect of alcohol consumption have by-and-large been observational, inconsistent, funded by the alcohol industry, and/or not subject to randomized control. Furthermore, [the well-documented risks and harms negate any potential cardioprotective effect], rendering our judgment that no amount of consumption can be considered good for heart health.”
“The portrayal of alcohol as necessary for a vibrant social life has diverted attention from the harms of alcohol use, as have the frequent and widely publicized claims that moderate drinking, such as a glass of red wine a day, can offer protection against cardiovascular disease,” said Monika Arora, a member of the WHF Advocacy Committee and co-author of the brief. “These claims are at best misinformed and at worst an attempt by the alcohol industry to mislead the public about the danger of their product.”
According to the WHF, a Geneva-based health advocacy organization that represents hundreds of heart associations worldwide, alcohol increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems. As the leading cause of death worldwide, it’s important to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as much as possible.
In addition to drinking less alcohol, you can give your heart health a boost by taking supplements like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients effectively promote circulation, blood pressure health, cholesterol health, and more. If you’re ready to support your heart health, then start reducing your alcohol consumption and take L-arginine Plus.