Alcohol, wine, and health.
For the past 20 years numerous epidemiological studies have correlated the consumption of alcohol and a variety of disease states: overall mortality, arteriosclerotic vascular diseases, hypertension, cancers, peptic ulcer, respiratory infections, gall stones, kidney stones, age-related macular degeneration, bone density, and cognitive function.
A review of these articles reveals that each of these studies has compared the outcome of individuals at various levels of alcohol consumption with that of abstainers.
Each analysis has identified a U-shaped or J-shaped curve of reduced relative risk for a given disease state compared with abstainers. A clear definition of consumption in moderation becomes evident: for men it should not exceed 2 to 4 drinks per day, and for women it should not exceed 1 to 2 drinks per day.
Alcohol by itself has favorable effects on the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and inhibition of platelet aggregation. Wine, particularly red wine, has high levels of phenolic compounds that favorably influence multiple biochemical systems, such as increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, antioxidant activity, decreased platelet aggregation and endothelial adhesion, suppression of cancer cell growth, and promotion of nitric oxide production.
Department of Surgery, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Respiratory Tract Infections