Even one drink a day could still harm blood pressure health

Credit: Unsplash+

In a striking new study, researchers have found that even limited alcohol consumption may not be safe for your health.

This research, published in the journal Hypertension, sheds light on how both low and high daily alcohol intake can lead to increased blood pressure, potentially raising the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study is a comprehensive analysis of seven international research projects conducted between 1997 and 2021. Nearly 20,000 adults from the US, Korea, and Japan participated, none of whom had a prior diagnosis of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, or alcoholism.

Over periods ranging from four to 12 years, the study monitored the relationship between usual alcohol intake and blood pressure.

The results were clear and somewhat alarming. Participants who consumed an average of 12 grams of alcohol daily – roughly the amount in 1.5 oz. of liquor or one 11 oz. beer – experienced a 1.25 mmHg rise in systolic blood pressure. For those consuming 48 grams per day, the increase was a significant 4.9 mmHg.

Systolic blood pressure, the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, is a crucial indicator of cardiovascular risk.

The study found a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and a rise in systolic pressure. This finding is crucial because systolic pressure is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.

Interestingly, the study observed that the association between alcohol consumption and higher blood pressure was consistent across all levels of intake, in both men and women, and in participants from North America and Asia.

Paul Whelton, a professor at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a co-author of the study, notes that the findings are particularly relevant for people who already have higher-than-normal blood pressure.

He explains that those with a trend toward increased blood pressure could benefit most from reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption.

Diastolic blood pressure, the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats, also showed an increase – although this effect was only noted in males.

For every 12 grams of alcohol consumed daily, diastolic pressure rose by 1.14 mmHg, and by 3.1 mmHg for 48 grams per day.

Senior study author Marco Vinceti, a professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia University in Italy, points out that they found no health benefits from drinking low levels of alcohol compared to abstaining completely.

The study’s surprise was that even a relatively low level of alcohol consumption was linked to an increase in blood pressure over time, though the effect was less pronounced than in heavy drinkers.

This research challenges the commonly held belief that moderate drinking could be harmless or even beneficial for health.

It underscores the importance of reevaluating alcohol consumption habits, especially for those at risk of or already experiencing high blood pressure. The study serves as a reminder that when it comes to alcohol and health, less might indeed be more.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about berry that can prevent cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and the harm of vitamin D deficiency you need to know.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about the connection between potatoes and high blood pressure,  and results showing why turmeric is a health game-changer.

The research findings can be found in the journal Hypertension.