21 September 2016 In General Health

BACKGROUND: High alcohol consumption is a major cause of morbidity, yet alcohol is associated with both favourable and adverse effects on cardiometabolic risk markers. We aimed to characterize the associations of usual alcohol consumption with a comprehensive systemic metabolite profile in young adults.

METHODS: Cross-sectional associations of alcohol intake with 86 metabolic measures were assessed for 9778 individuals from three population-based cohorts from Finland (age 24-45 years, 52% women). Metabolic changes associated with change in alcohol intake during 6-year follow-up were further examined for 1466 individuals. Alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaires. Circulating lipids, fatty acids and metabolites were quantified by high-throughput nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics and biochemical assays.

RESULTS: Increased alcohol intake was associated with cardiometabolic risk markers across multiple metabolic pathways, including higher lipid concentrations in HDL subclasses and smaller LDL particle size, increased proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids and decreased proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, lower concentrations of glutamine and citrate (P < 0.001 for 56 metabolic measures). Many metabolic biomarkers displayed U-shaped associations with alcohol consumption. Results were coherent for men and women, consistent across the three cohorts and similar if adjusting for body mass index, smoking and physical activity. The metabolic changes accompanying change in alcohol intake during follow-up resembled the cross-sectional association pattern (R2 = 0.83, slope = 0.72 +/- 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption is associated with a complex metabolic signature, including aberrations in multiple biomarkers for elevated cardiometabolic risk. The metabolic signature tracks with long-term changes in alcohol consumption. These results elucidate the double-edged effects of alcohol on cardiovascular risk.

21 September 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Parental drinking has been shown to be associated with offspring drinking. However, the relationship appears to be more complex than often assumed and few studies have tracked it over longer time periods. AIMS: To explore the long-term (10-year) transmission of familial drinking during adolescence to offspring drinking patterns in young adulthood.

DESIGN: Swedish longitudinal study, assessing the relationship between familial drinking in 2000 and offspring drinking in 2010 using simultaneous quantile regression analysis (n=744). DATA: Data on familial drinking was gathered from the Swedish level-of-living surveys (LNU) and from partner LNU in 2000 while data on offspring drinking in young adulthood was gathered from LNU 2010. Drinking among offspring, parents and potential stepparents was measured through identical quantity-frequency indices referring to the past 12 months in 2010 and 2000 respectively.

RESULTS: Young adults whose families were abstainers in 2000 drank substantially less across quintiles in 2010 than offspring of non-abstaining families. The difference, however, was not statistically significant between quintiles of the conditional distribution. Actual drinking levels in drinking families were not at all or weakly associated with drinking in offspring. Supplementary analyses confirmed these patterns.

CONCLUSION: The association between familial drinking and offspring drinking in young adulthood exhibits clear non-linear trends. Changes in the lower part of the familial drinking distribution are strongly related to drinking in young adults, but the actual levels of drinking in drinking families appear less important in shaping the drinking patterns of the offspring in young adulthood.

A substantial economics literature documents that tighter alcohol controls reduce alcohol-related harms, but far less is known about mechanisms. We use the universe of Canadian mortality records to document that Canada's Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) significantly reduces mortality rates of young men but has much smaller effects on women. Using drinking data that are far more detailed than in prior work, we document that the MLDA substantially reduces 'extreme' drinking among men but not women. Our results suggest that alcohol control efforts targeting young adults should focus on reducing extreme drinking behavior.

22 March 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

PURPOSE: Heavy episodic (i.e., "binge") drinking (i.e., >/=five drinks/occasion) is highly prevalent among young adults; those who binge do so four times per month on average, consuming nine drinks on average on each occasion. Although it is well established that chronic heavy drinking (>/=two alcoholic beverages per day) increases the risk of hypertension, the relationship between binge drinking and blood pressure is not well described. Our aim was to describe the relationship between frequency of binge drinking, both current (at age 24 years) and past (at age 20 years), and systolic blood pressure (SBP) at age 24 years.

METHODS: Participants (n = 756) from the longitudinal Nicotine Dependence in Teens study reported alcohol consumption at ages 20 and 24 years and had SBP measured at age 24 years. We examined the association between binge drinking and SBP using multiple linear regression, controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, education, monthly drinking in high school, cigarette smoking, and body mass index.

RESULTS: Compared to nonbinge drinkers, SBP at age 24 years was 2.61 [.41, 4.82] mm Hg higher among current monthly bingers and 4.03 [1.35, 6.70] mm Hg higher among current weekly bingers. SBP at age 24 years was 2.90 [.54, 5.25] mm Hg higher among monthly bingers at age 20 years and 3.64 [.93, 6.35] mm Hg higher among weekly bingers at age 20 years, compared to nonbinge drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Frequent binge drinking at ages 20 and 24 years is associated with higher SBP at age 24 years and may be implicated in the development of hypertension.

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