Identified in 2005 as the most highly cited researcher in clinical medicine, Meir Stampfer, MD D.Ph., Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health is a leading expert in the etiology of chronic disease - particularly Cancer and Cardiovascular disease. He's also an expert in one other thing: Alcohol's protective effects on the heart.
- Although there is always a risk of developing dependence, alcoholism usually presents at a relatively young age, so the likelihood of precipitating abuse in a middle aged person is not very likely.
- Over 100 prospective studies show an inverse association between moderate drinking and CVD (including MI, Ischemic stroke, PVD, Sudden Cardiac Death, and death from all cardiovascular causes)
- This reduction has been found in both men and women, in those who do not have clinically evident heart disease, in those at high risk for dying of heart disease including people with Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and existing cardiovascular disease
- It doesn't matter what type of alcohol you drink (Red Wine, White Wine, Sake, Martinis) - all had equal benefit. (Resveratrol found in Red Wine has been found to be beneficial in mice studies, but you would have to drink 1.5 gallons of wine in order to get this experimental amount.
- Cause and effect, while not proven in a double blind study - is essentially proven. Many studies have adjusted for confounding variables, and the measurable effects of moderate alcohol consumption (increased HDL levels, decreased hemoglobin A1c, effects on plasminogen activator, fibringen, Factor VII, and von Willebrand) can essentially account for the cardiovascular benefits alone
- The best correlation with benefits is actually in the number of days one drinks per week, not number one drinks per day. (eg. 1, 2 or even 3 drinks/day on > or = 5 days/week has better outcomes than drinking this many per day for less than 5 days/week
- The negative effects of alcohol at moderate doses include a modestly increased risk for breast CA, a modestly increased risk in blood pressure. This is a consideration, but studies have shown that all cause mortality is still decreased.
- A cohort from Harvard School of Public Health was stratified in to a "healthy group" who were nonsmokers, have a healthy diet, are physically active, and have a low BMI. The benefits of Alcohol were still found even among this group.