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Does Alcohol Give High Cholesterol

Is It Bad To Drink Whiskey Everyday

How Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Cholesterol

One drink a week is probably better than one drink a day of whiskey. You shouldnt use this as an excuse to drink all the beverages you would have consumed in one week. The key to moderate eating is to limit it to one or two servings. Having said that, if you stick to this amount, youll likely experience little adverse effects.

Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria

Only articles that meet the following requirements were included:

  • Articles published in the last 10 years

  • Interventions made in humans

  • Articles published in journals with a relevant impact factor

The exclusion criteria consisted in the following:

  • Articles published before 2010

  • Articles not containing some of the characteristics mentioned in the inclusion criteria

  • Interventions made in animals, ex-vivo, or in-silico

  • Articles of meta-analysis or systemic reviews that may overlap with the studies mentioned in this review

Iii Research On Alcohol And Cholesterol


Researchers made a study using three independent general Japanese populations. The total number of male subjects was 2,289. The number of females was 1,940. Thus, the total number was 4,229. Their mean age was 63.3.

Alcohol consumption was positively linked with HDL but negatively with LDL level.

Their conclusion was simple. Alcohol consumption has a causal role in not only increasing HDL cholesterol levels but also decreasing LDL cholesterol levels.1

Postmenopausal Women

Postmenopausal women were in an eight-week controlled diet experiment. The control group drank no alcohol. One group consumed one drink per day. The third group had two drinks daily. The energy provided by the three diets was the same. After the diet, the researchers tested the HDL and LDL levels. Then they compared the latter groups to those of the control group.

Women who had one drink daily had lower LDL levels. Having two daily drinks did not reduce them much more. One daily drink increased HDL some. However, two daily drinks greatly raised HDL levels. In short, one drink a day was good for cholesterol levels. However, two drinks per day was much better.2


Other researchers found better HDL levels among nonsmoking men and women who had at least seven drinks weekly. Then the researchers compared them to nonsmoking abstainers.

Drinking in moderation has a positive affect while smoking appears to have a negative affect on HDL levels.3

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Risks Of Drinking Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can actually increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, raise blood pressure, contribute to obesity, and increase the levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.

Excessive drinking also can lead to heart muscle disease , irregular heartbeat , and stroke. Eventually, heavy alcohol use can leave the heart too weak to pump efficiently, a condition called congestive heart failure.

Because drinking alcohol also has other downsides, including increased risk of some cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, and an increased risk of accidents, the American Heart Association does not recommend that you start drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverages specifically to lower your cholesterol or improve your heart health. Instead, the organization advises watching your weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly to keep your cholesterol levels in check.

If you do plan to drink, check with your doctor first, and drink in moderation — . Some people, especially pregnant women, and those who take certain medicines regularly, should avoid alcohol entirely.

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Cholesterol And Coronary Heart Disease

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The main risk from high cholesterol is coronary heart disease, which can lead to death from a heart attack. If your cholesterol level is too high, cholesterol can build up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup â called plaque â causes hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Arteries that feed the heart can narrow in certain areas and slow blood flow to part of the heart muscle. Or cholesterol plaques break off and float to smaller blood vessels and cause a partial or total blockage. Sometimes inflammatory cells might go to the broken plaque area and cause a narrowing there as well. Reduced blood flow can result in chest pain called angina, or in a heart attack if a blood vessel gets blocked completely.Ã

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Tingles In Your Hands And Feet

A sort of tingling sensation in your hands and your feet definitely isnt uncommon if youre dealing with too high cholesterol levels. Because of blocked blood vessels, the peripheral nerves in your feet and hands are also affected as theyre not getting enough oxygen and blood flow. This usually doesnt result in pain, but can induce a rather noticeable tingling sensation instead.

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What Role Does Cholesterol Play In Health

Cholesterol has a few major functions in the body. It plays a part in hormone and vitamin D production. Its also incorporated into bile acids, which aid digestion and vitamin absorption. Cholesterol provides support to the production and maintenance of your cell membranes, as well.

In other words, you need cholesterol for good health.

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Does Excessive Drinking Contribute To Heart Disease

Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is linked to a number of poor health outcomes, including heart conditions. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle.

Whats more, alcohol can contribute to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it, McEvoy says: Alcohol is a source of excess calories and a cause of weight gain that can be harmful in the long term.

The takeaway, McEvoy says, is what you probably already knew: If you choose to drink alcohol, stick to moderate levels of drinking, and dont overdo it. Were not talking about going out and drinking yourself merry and then expecting good heart outcomes, McEvoy says.

Cholesterol And Healthy Eating

High Cholesterol – Do I Need To Take Medication?

What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.

The Heart Foundation recommends:

  • Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
  • A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
  • Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
  • Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
  • Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.

Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.

Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.

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Alcohols Effects On Your Heart

There is no hard and fast data showing exactly what happens to the heart when we drink. Steven Nissen, MD, chair of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says that this is because most research in this area is observational so far, these studies have shown no direct cause-and-effect relationship

Broadly powerful agents like alcohol do a lot of things in the body, and we dont know exactly what is responsible for the benefits, Dr. Nissen says.

But when adults drink in moderation, Nissen says, the heart appears to benefit in three ways:

  • Higher HDL Drinking in moderation can raise HDL, or good cholesterol.
  • Reduced Clotting Alcohol can act as an anticoagulant, making the blood less sticky and less likely to clot.
  • Less Inflammation Alcohol may also reduce inflammation, which plays a role in heart attacks and strokes.
  • In an extensive review of more than 100 studies dealing with alcohol intake and heart disease, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found that moderate drinkers had a 25 to 40 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and death from cardiovascular causes compared to nondrinkers.

    Will Quitting Alcohol Lower My Cholesterol

    If you have high cholesterol, quitting or cutting back on alcohol can certainly help lower it, and improve your heart health more generally. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control lists cutting back on alcohol as a way to prevent or manage high cholesterol9.

    Other ways to lower your cholesterol include getting regular exercise, eating a healthier diet, and quitting smoking. Of course, if youre concerned about your cholesterol levels, we also recommend discussing your habits with your doctor.

    If cutting back on alcohol proves challenging, the good news is that there are easier, more flexible options than before. Ria Health offers online support to reduce or quit drinking from an app on your smartphone. We support everyone from heavy to occasional drinkersyou dont need to identify as an alcoholic to join.

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    Alcohol Consumption And Impact On Cholesterol Levels

    Alcohol consumption is certainly typical in the world. It estimated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that approximately half of the citizens are drinking on a regular basis. At this time, scientific studies reveal that men and women that drink without excess might be more healthy in certain aspects in comparison to heavy drinkers as well as those that refrain completely. Among the advantages of moderate alcohol consumption, there is surprisingly a positive impact on cholesterol levels.

    Does Drinking Alcohol Increase Cholesterol

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    As a result, consuming alcohol raises your blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Triglycerides can build up in the liver and cause fatty liver disease if your levels are too high. Because your liver is not working as well as it should and is unable to remove cholesterol from your blood, your cholesterol levels will rise.

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    Will High Cholesterol Make Me Feel Bad

    No. For most people, high cholesterol has no symptoms at all, according to the AHA. But when it causes plaque buildup in larger arteries in your heart, coronary artery disease can result, which can involve angina , chest pain, arrhythmia , and shortness of breath that can leave you low on energy, notes the NHLBI.

    Coronary artery disease is the most common heart disease, but many people have no idea they have it until they suffer a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . For them, a heart attack is the first sign that theyd been living with high cholesterol.

    The AHA advises having your cholesterol checked every four to six years or more frequently, if youre at risk starting at age 20. If your numbers are too high, you can take steps to lower your risk for both heart disease and stroke. Besides following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, take medications as instructed if your doctor prescribes them.

    How Do Beer And Alcohol Affect Your Cholesterol

    38 percent of Americans suffer from high cholesterol1, and many also consume large amounts of alcohol. While the two issues are not necessarily linkedsmoking, diet, and exercise are also major factorsthere does appear to be a connection between how much you drink and your cholesterol levels.

    But is drinking always bad for your cholesterol? How much drinking is too much? Does alcohol raise cholesterol in every case, or could some types of alcohol actually be beneficial? Below, well discuss the facts around cholesterol and alcohol, and how to keep a healthy balance.

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    Alcohol And Breast Cancer

    If you’re thinking of taking up drinking for good health, look before you leap. Alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer by up to 41 percent. That number doesn’t translate into 41 percent of women who drink alcoholic beverages regularly will get breast cancer. It does mean it’s a risk you should take into consideration.

    Drink Alcohol In Moderation

    Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?

    One of the key points to remember with alcohol is that moderation is crucial. According to the National Institutes of Health, for healthy people, low-risk drinking means no more than seven drinks in a week. And in any one day, low-risk means no more than four drinks for men, and no more than three for women.

    What constitutes one drink?

    • 12 ounces of beer
    • 8 to 9 oz of malt liquor
    • 5 oz of wine
    • 1.5 oz shot of 80-proof spirits, like whiskey, gin, rum, or vodka

    Most studies have been performed on middle-aged people. Those over age 65 metabolize alcohol differently, so they should have less alcohol.

    Two beers at 70 is about the same as four drinks at 50, Nissen says. What we tell patients is, if they choose to have a drink a day good for heart health, thats fine.

    But research shows that too much of a good thing gets risky. One study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, illustrates the different effects of moderate drinking and binge drinking. Researchers fed mice the equivalent of either two drinks daily, seven drinks on two days of the week , or no alcohol.

    For people, drinking too much alcohol can cause a number of health problems. Blazing notes that occasionally having an extra drink or two for celebratory purposes is fine. But there are also times when you shouldn’t have any alcohol at all.

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    Does The Type Of Alcohol Matter

    Ultimately, its the quantity and frequency of drinking that has more of an impact on your cholesterol levels rather than the type of alcohol. Your body reacts to alcohol the same way whether its coming from beer, wine, or hard liquor.

    As described above, some research has shown a positive relationship between red wine and HDL cholesterol levels, yet the exact way that wine impacts cholesterol levels needs more research. Thats probably why the American Heart Association currently does not recommend drinking wine or any other form of alcohol to gain potential benefits.

    What Happens When You Drink Excessively

    Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, the organ also responsible for metabolizing fats. When the alcohol in the body is excessive the enzymes responsible for metabolizing fats must fulfill another function, taking care of metabolizing the excess alcohol, which leads to an increase in fat concentration in the liver and therefore an increase in bad cholesterol or LDL.

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    Have Your Cholesterol Levels Tested

    As for how often a person should have their cholesterol levels tested, for many people, it does not need to be a yearly test, said Dr. Kirley. The guidelines have been evolving about this in terms of what age you need to start getting your cholesterol levels tested and how frequently.

    For most adults, its good to have them checked at least once so you have a general idea about where your levels may be and what your risk may be, she added. And then for people who have risk factors like high blood pressure or older age, we may start checking every few years or so.

    Does Alcohol Protect Against Heart Problems

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    Some studies have shown an association between moderate alcohol intake and a lower risk of dying from heart disease.

    But its hard to determine cause and effect from those studies, says McEvoy. Perhaps people who sip red wine have higher incomes, which tend to be associated with more education and greater access to healthier foods. Similarly, red wine drinkers might be more likely to eat a heart-healthy diet.

    There is some evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol might help to slightly raise levels of good HDL cholesterol. Researchers have also suggested that red wine, in particular, might protect the heart, thanks to the antioxidants it contains.

    But you dont have to pop a cork to reap those benefits. Exercise can also boost HDL cholesterol levels, and antioxidants can be found in other foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grape juice

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    What Kind Of Alcohol Causes High Cholesterol

    It has been found that drinking moderate amounts of red wine no more than one 5-ounce serving per day can influence cholesterol levels in a positive way. It is likely to cause an increase in cholesterol if you consume more beer, wine, hard liquor, or mixed drinks. Drinking too much over a long period of time can increase cholesterol levels.

    Balancing The Pros And Cons

    Though the AHA notes that studies have established a possible link between moderate alcohol consumption and both increased HDL and reduced risk for diabetes, the association also cautions about the simultaneous risks of imbibing: liver damage, stroke, cancer, negative effects on your heart and obesity.

    “The debate about drinking alcohol for its benefits on cholesterol keeps going back and forth,” says Dr. Boblick. “Drinking in moderation increases good cholesterol. Drinking too much increases triglycerides and blood pressure, erasing any benefits.”

    And, according to Harvard Health Publishing, a strong connection exists between good HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels: If your triglyceride level goes up, it tends to force your HDL cholesterol down . Therefore, Harvard Health explains, too much alcohol can have the opposite effect of moderate consumption.

    Cleveland Clinic also warns that, for some people, drinking at all could be dangerous. This includes people with a personal or family history of alcohol abuse, liver disease or pancreatitis, those who have diabetes, an irregular pulse or elevated blood pressure or triglyceride levels as well as anyone who’s had a heart attack or stroke.

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