Here's to your health and your heart Couple of drinks a day help heart, study affirms.

August 23, 1991|By Boston Globe

Drinking two or three glasses of beer or wine daily reduces the risk of serious heart disease by up to 40 percent, according to a new study of 27,700 men designed to answer critics who said that previous research into the question was flawed.

The study's large size and its method, which eliminated men with health problems that might have biased the findings, made it particularly significant, scientists said.

The researchers said they could say with confidence that one-half to two drinks a day caused an average drop in heart disease risk of 26 percent, and the more an individual drank, the greater the protective effect of the alcohol.

Eric B. Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health, leading author of the study, said it further appeared that men who drank three ormore drinks a day were as much as 40 percent less likely to suffer heart problems.

But he emphasized that these benefits come only with moderate drinking, because at higher levels they will be nullified by alcohol's potentially harmful side effects, such as cirrhosis of the liver and high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association, while recognizing the evidence linking alcohol use and lower heart disease, makes no recommendation about what people should do.

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