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Should I start drinking wine to prevent a heart attack?

Studies proclaiming the health benefits of alcohol are widely promoted by the wine, beer and alcoholic beverage industries, but they have a major flaw. Researchers from the University of Victoria in British Columbia reviewed 54 studies and found that only seven corrected their non-drinking population for people who had to stop drinking for health reasons (Addiction Research and Theory, April 2006).

When you do an epidemiological study to see if alcohol prevents disease, you compare people who drink and those who do not drink. However, many people do not drink because their doctors have told them they have high blood pressure, liver, heart or kidney disease, alcoholism, stomach ulcers, or other major health problems. The Canadian researchers re-analyzed 47 studies that associated wine or other alcohol with a longer life and decreased risk for heart attacks. When the studies were corrected to remove the people who had been ordered to stop drinking for health reasons, they found no difference in death rate between moderate drinkers and those who do not drink at all. It is probably safe to take up to two drinks a day, but be skeptical of studies that say alcohol will prolong your life.

June 15, 2006

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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