A new study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine shows that consuming alcohol, even on a small scale, does not improve cardiovascular health as was once thought.

Contrary to the popular belief that light consumption of alcohol may actually be beneficial to the heart, researchers say that this is not the case. Reduced consumption of alcohol may lead to a healthier heart even for light-to-moderate drinkers.

More than 50 studies linked the drinking habits and cardiovascular health of more than 260,000 people. Researchers found that individuals who drank 17 percent less alcohol per week on average reduced their risk of coronary heart disease, and lowered their blood pressure and their body mass index.

Researchers examined the health of individuals who carry the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B gene which is known to break down alcohol faster. The fast breakdown of alcohol may cause symptoms such as nausea and a flushed face. Using this genetic marker, the team was able to identify links between a lighter alcohol consumption and improved cardiovascular health.

Information compiled from Sciencedaily.com

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