Here is an excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article about a decades long study that recently published in the journal, Stroke entitled Raising a Glass a Day to Lower Stroke Risk in Women:
The researchers found that women who consumed low to moderate amounts of alcohol had a lower risk of stroke than women who never drank. Why would drinking lower stroke risk? “Alcohol has components that prevent blood clots and promote HDL (good) cholesterol,” says lead researcher Dr. Monik Jimenez. Fewer blood clots could account for fewer strokes. (And the boost in good cholesterol helps explain why moderate drinking may also lower the risk of heart disease.)
But keep in mind that heavy drinking can have adverse stroke effects. While the population of women in the study who drank heavily was too small to say much about their stroke risk, previous research has shown that overconsumption isn’t healthy. “Higher intake can lead to high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation which are both risk factors for stoke,” says Jimenez. “Our findings really stress moderation for women who do drink.”
But that’s not an invitation for women who don’t drink to start boozing now. Although the researchers found an association between stroke risk and alcohol, they did not find a cause-and-effect relationship. Also, the risk of stroke in women who abstained from alcohol was still relatively low. “We do not advocate alcohol consumption from those who abstain from drinking,” says Jimenez. “There are a lot of risks associated with drinking and there are other healthy lifestyle modifications women can make instead.”
Based on their findings, the researchers support the American Heart Association’s (AHA) message that men and women who consume alcohol should do so in moderation.
My Take: It's a balance scale. We all know there are other health risks associated with alcohol consumption. But the results do speak for themselves. Like anything…it's all about moderation.
Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in San Francisco, CA.