Effects of alcohol intake on endothelial function in men: a randomized controlled trial

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Background Regular light consumption of alcohol appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, whereas in heavier drinkers the opposite effect is seen. This biphasic relationship could partly be due to contrasting actions of low and high alcohol intake on endothelial function.Objective To determine whether reducing alcohol intake in moderate-to-heavy drinkers (40-110 g/day) would improve conduit artery endothelial function as assessed by post-ischaemic brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD).Methods In a two-way cross-over study, 16 healthy men either substituted their usual alcohol intake with a 0.9% alcohol beer or maintained their usual alcohol intake during sequential 4-week periods. At the end of each period of FMD and glyceryl trinitrate-induced brachial artery dilatation, blood pressure, plasma lipids, homocysteine and biomarkers of alcohol consumption (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase) and endothelial function (E-selectin, von Willebrand factor, endothelin-1) were assessed.Results The participants reduced their alcohol intake from 72.4 to 7.9 g/day. This self-reported reduction in alcohol intake was corroborated by significant decreases in gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (24%). The decrease in alcohol intake resulted in reductions in total cholesterol (5%), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (17%), hornocysteine (9%) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure [5 mmHg (P= 0.01) and 4 mmHg (P= 0.003), respectively]. There was no effect of alcohol on FMD (6.23 +/- 0.75% compared with 6.24 +/- 0.71 %, P = NS), glyceryl trinitrate-induced vasodilatation, E-selectin, endothelin-1 and von Willebrand factor.Conclusion Substantial reduction in alcohol intake in healthy moderate-to-heavy drinkers does not improve endothelial function as measured by post-ischaemic flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery or biomarkers of endothelial function. (C) 2003 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


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