Extracted from Wine Spectator On-line March 2008 by Jacob Gaffney
People in their mid-40s to mid-60s who decide to take up moderate drinking, even after a lifetime of abstention, are likely to have healthier hearts when compared to lifelong nondrinkers, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Medicine. In addition, those who chose wine as their primary alcoholic beverage were less likely to experience cardiovascular troubles such as heart attack or coronary heart disease than beer or spirits drinkers.
According to the text of the study, previous research has shown a beneficial effect on heart function from moderate alcohol consumption, defined as one drink a day for women and two for men.
King's team found that those who began drinking moderately during the study were 38 percent less likely to have an observable heart-related health issue than those who reported lifetime non-drinking. Those who took up heavier drinking, by comparison, were 42 percent more likely to have cardiovascular troubles than abstainers.
When the scientists separated the results according to beverage preference, they found that for the 133 subjects who reported drinking primarily wine, their risk of suffering a cardiovascular event was 68 percent less than that of nondrinkers. Beer and spirits drinkers benefited as well, but showed only a 29 percent lower risk of experiencing a heart problem. King said that the additional observed cardiovascular benefit for those who begin drinking wine in middle age was "consistent with recent studies showing a slight advantage to wine drinkers."