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Drinking wine associated with reduced risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes

Wine drinking is linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) but also reduces the risk of developing both CVD and coronary heart disease (CHD), according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis.

Previous studies have hinted that the polyphenolic content of wine confers a cardio-protective effect whereas consumption of spirits, increases the risk of ventricular arrhythmias. In fact, evidence points to a J-shaped relationship between wine consumption and vascular risk.

Whether these purported benefits of wine are influenced by potential confounders such as age, gender, smoking status and the duration of follow-up within studies is uncertain. For the present study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers undertook a meta-analysis to examine the association between wine consumption and cardiovascular outcomes and assessed if this association was influenced by personal and study factors. The researchers looked for studies in adults and where the reported outcomes were cardiovascular mortality, CVD and CHD.

Wine consumption and adverse CV outcomes

There were 25 studies with 1,443,245 subjects included in the final analysis.

Wine consumption was associated with a 24% reduced risk of CHD (relative risk, RR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.69 – 0.84). In addition, there were also significant reductions in the risk of CVD (RR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.70 – 0.98) and for cardiovascular mortality (RR = 0.73, 95% CI 0.59 – 0.90).

In a sensitivity analysis, these associations remained statistically significant. However, publication bias was evidence for the link between wine and CVD but not for either CHD or cardiovascular mortality.

In further analysis, the effects of participants’ mean age, the proportion of women in studies, the duration of follow-up or if whether individuals currently smoked, did not impact on the reported associations.

The researchers did caution that increasing wine consumption could be detrimental for patients who are vulnerable to alcohol due to age, medication or pathology. They also suggested that further research is required to differentiate the observed effects by the type of wine.

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