Blood pressure and stroke risk steadily the more alcohol people drink, and the previous claims that one or two drinks a day can protect against stroke are not true, according to the results of a major genetic study.
The research, who used data from a 160,000-strong cohort of Chinese adults, many of whom are unable to drink alcohol due to genetic intolerance, found that people who drink moderately – consuming 10 to 20 grams of alcohol per day – raise their insulin risk by 10 to 15 percent.
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For heavy drinkers, consuming four or more drinks a day, blood pressure rises significantly and the risk of stroke increases by about 35 percent, the study found "The key message here is that, at least for stroke, there is no protective effect of moderate drinking," said Zhengming Chen, a professor at Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Population Health who co-led the rese arch "The genetic evidence shows the protective effect is not real."
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with daily average intake per person at 33 grams of pure alcohol per day. This is roughly equivalent to two 1
This latest study, published in The Lancet Medical Journal, focuses on people of East Asian descent
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Because the variants have a specific and large effect on alcohol, but do not affect other life style factors such as
"Using genetics is a novel way … to sort out whether moderate drinking is really protective, or whether It's slightly harmful, "said Iona Millwood, an epidemiologist at Oxford who co-led the study.
The research team, including scientists from Oxford and Beijing universities and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said it would be impossible to do a study on this. Kind of Western populations, since almost no-one has the relevant alcohol-intolerance gene variant.
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But the findings about alcoholic biologic effects should be the same for all people Worldwide, they said.
Europe has the highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by about 10 percent since 2010, according to the WHO, and current trends point to a global increase in per capita consumption in next 10 years.