advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Raise a Glass for Your Health?

What do you think of this new study that shows that drinking any kind of alcohol lowers the risk of heart attack? What's your advice about drinking given the results?

A
Answer (Published 1/17/2003)

(Updated 1/25/2005)

You're no doubt referring to the published results of an ongoing study at the Harvard School of Public Health that is tracking the health of more than 38,000 male health professionals. Results showed that men who drank a moderate amount of alcohol at least three to four days a week had a lower risk of heart attack than those who didn't drink at all. By a "moderate amount" the study's authors meant a glass or two of wine, beer, or some other type of alcoholic beverage.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Heart Health - A healthful diet and lifestyle, along with prudent supplementation, can help prevent or lessen the risk of heart disease and related illnesses such as hypertension, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Learn more, and get your free, personalized nutritional supplement and vitamin recommendation today.

These results are certainly interesting since they suggest that it isn't the type of alcohol - red wine, for instance - that is protective, but alcohol in general. However, I know of no medical authority who suggests, on the basis of these results, that men who do not drink alcohol should now take up the habit as a way to reduce their risk of heart attack. This question has come up in the past when earlier studies suggested that alcohol, and red wine in particular, is protective. Then, as now, my position has been that if you do drink alcohol, moderate amounts may be protective. However, if you don't drink, you have better alternatives - good diet and adequate exercise, for example. And drinking alcohol on top of poor dietary and exercise habits is not going to neutralize the effects of those behaviors.

By the way, although the Harvard findings got a lot of publicity, another study showed that consuming an equivalent amount of alcohol can be very unhealthy. Results reported in the January 2003 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research showed that the protective effects of alcohol do not show up among African-American men who drink the same amount as the men in the Harvard study but do so during weekly binges. Clearly, we still have a lot to learn about alcohol and its influence on health.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

More information on alcoholism.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here