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New study finds a beer a day may keep the doctor away

Dec 31, 2002 - A study showing a beer a day may help keep heart attacks away adds to growing evidence that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce heart disease. Israeli researchers found that drinking one beer (12 ounces) a day triggered changes in blood chemistry that are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.


Following beer drinking, participants in the study were found to have decreased cholesterol levels, increased antioxidants and reduced levels of fibrinogen — a clot-producing protein.

During the study a total of 48 men aged 46 to 72 with coronary heart disease were divided into two groups of 24. Individuals in one group drank one bottle of beer a day for 30 consecutive days while the others drank mineral water. Both groups ate a similar diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, during this period.

In 21 out of the 24 patients in the beer-drinking group, the researchers found positive changes in blood chemicals that are associated, on the evidence of previous studies, with a decreased heart-attack risk. The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry this month, also shows for the first time that drinking alcoholic beverages causes structural changes in fibrinogen that make the clotting protein less active.

However, scientists warn that moderate drinking still cannot be directly linked to a lower heart-attack risk. Some studies suggest that lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise may help account for some of the association between lower heart-disease risk and drinking.

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