A Greek study reported that those individuals who consumed up to one glass per day had a 53% lower risk of developing diabetes within 10 years compared to abstainers.

Diabetes mellitus is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. According to the International Diabetes Federation, its global prevalence was approximately 8% in 2011 and is predicted to rise up to 10% by 2030. However, many governments and public health planners remain largely unaware of the current prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions, the potential future increase in prevalence and the serious complications associated with the disease. Raising the awareness of the high prevalence and the related risk factors could thus lead to new policies and strategies for prevention and management.

Lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity and controlling body weight are considered of utmost importance for preventing Type-2-Diabetes (T2DM). Regular light to moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is considered part of a healthy lifestyle because it is consistently associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and total mortality. Some questions concerning diabetes, however, remain.

To investigate the effect of alcohol consumption on diabetes incidence, a group of Greek researchers carried out a prospective study with a random sample of 1514 men (18-89 years old) and 1528 women (18-87 years old) who were participants in the ATTICA study (Athens metropolitan area, Greece). Among various other characteristics, the average daily alcohol intakes (abstention, low, moderate, high) and types of alcoholic drinks were evaluated. Diabetes was defined according to American Diabetes Association criteria.

The participants were followed up for a decade. After 10 years, 13.4% of men and 12.4% of women developed diabetes. After making various statistical adjustments, those who consumed up to 1 glass of alcoholic beverage /day had a 53% lower risk developing diabetes compared to abstainers. With higher and lower consumption of alcoholic beverages, there was an increased risk resulting in a significant U-shaped relationship between quantity of alcoholic drinks and diabetes incidence. A specific effect concerning the types of alcoholic drinks could not be found. Notably, the protective effect of low consumption of alcoholic beverages on diabetes incidence was more prominent among individuals who followed a Mediterranean type diet and who had fewer cardio-metabolic risk factors.

The scientists concluded that the results revealed a protective effect of modest alcohol consumption against the 10-year diabetes risk. This may be considered a future diabetes prevention strategy.

Koloverou E, Panagiotakos DB, Pitsavos C, et al. Effects of alcohol consumption and the metabolic syndrome on 10-year incidence of diabetes: The ATTICA study. Diabetes Metab. 2014 Sep 1. 

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.

Published in Latest Scientific News

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether alcohol consumption is causally associated with cognitive impairment in older men as predicted by mendelian randomization.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of a cohort study of 3,542 community-dwelling men aged 65 to 83 years followed for 6 years. Cognitive impairment was established by a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 23 or less. Participants provided detailed information about their use of alcohol during the preceding year and were classified as abstainers, occasional drinkers, and regular drinkers: mild (/=35 drinks/wk). We genotyped the rs1229984 G-->A variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) gene, which is associated with lower prevalence of alcohol abuse and dependence. Other measures included age, education, marital status, smoking and physical activity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.

RESULTS: At study entry, rs1229984 G-->A polymorphism was associated with lower prevalence of regular use of alcohol and decreased consumption among regular users. Six years later, 502 men (14.2%) showed evidence of cognitive impairment. Abstainers and irregular drinkers had higher odds of cognitive impairment than regular drinkers (odds ratio [OR] = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00-1.51, after adjustment for other measured factors). The rs1229984 G-->A polymorphism did not decrease the odds of cognitive impairment (AA/GG OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 0.29-6.27; GA/GG OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.71-1.55).

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption, including heavy regular drinking and abuse, is not a direct cause of cognitive impairment in later life. Our results are consistent with the possibility, but do not prove, that regular moderate drinking decreases the risk of cognitive impairment in older men.

Published in Dementia

BACKGROUND: Although high alcohol consumption has been associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), the role of light to moderate drinking remains unclear.

OBJECTIVES: The study sought to investigate the association between alcohol consumption and AF risk in a prospective study of Swedish men and women and to conduct a meta-analysis of prospective studies to summarize available evidence.

METHODS: We followed 79,019 men and women who, at baseline, were free from AF and had completed a questionnaire about alcohol consumption and other risk factors for chronic diseases. Incident AF cases were ascertained by linkage to the Swedish Inpatient Register. For the meta-analysis, studies were identified by searching PubMed through January 10, 2014, and by reviewing references of pertinent publications. Study-specific relative risks (RRs) were combined using a random effects model.

RESULTS: Over 859,420 person-years of follow-up (1998 to 2009), 7,245 incident AF cases were identified in our own cohort study. The association between alcohol consumption and AF did not differ by sex (p for interaction = 0.74). Compared with current drinkers of 21 drinks/week. Results were similar after excluding binge drinkers. In a meta-analysis of 7 prospective studies, including 12,554 AF cases, the RRs were 1.08 (95% CI: 1.06 to 1.10) for 1 drink/day, 1.17 (95% CI: 1.13 to 1.21) for 2 drinks/day, 1.26 (95% CI: 1.19 to 1.33) for 3 drinks/day, 1.36 (95% CI: 1.27 to 1.46) for 4 drinks/day, and 1.47 (95% CI: 1.34 to 1.61) for 5 drinks/day, compared with nondrinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that alcohol consumption, even at moderate intakes, is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation.

Published in Cardiovascular System

Epidemiological and experimental studies have revealed that a mild to moderate drinking of wine, particularly red wine, attenuates the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular risk. However, the experimental basis for such health benefits is not fully understood. The cardioprotective effect of wine has been attributed to both components of wine: the alcoholic portion and, more importantly, the alcohol-free portion containing antioxidants. Wines are manufactured from grapes, which also contain a large variety of antioxidants, including resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. Resveratrol is mainly found in the grape skin, whereas proanthocyanidins are found only in the seeds. Recent studies have demonstrated that resveratrol and proanthocyanidin are the major compounds present in grapes and wines responsible for cardioprotection. The purpose of this review is to provide evidence that grapes, wines, and resveratrol are equally important in reducing the risk of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular complications. Both wines and grapes can attenuate cardiac diseases such as atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease. Recently, wine was also found to increase life span by inducing longevity genes. It appears that resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, especially resveratrol, present in grapes and wines play a crucial role in cardioprotective abilities of grapes and wines.

Published in Phenolic compounds

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