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How Does Alcohol Affect Cholesterol

Iii Research On Alcohol And Cholesterol

How Drinking Alcohol Affects Your 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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Is Wine A Better Option

Weve all heard the news that a glass of red wine a day may be good for you, but research suggests that other forms of alcohol may also be beneficial.

Red wine has been extensively studied. In moderate amounts its been shown to reduce cancer, heart disease, depression, dementia, and type 2 diabetes. Moderate intake of beer has also been shown to reduce heart disease and stroke risk.

While beer does contain some antioxidants like red wine, the specific ones found in barley and hops are different than those found in wine grapes. Its still unclear if beer antioxidants offer the same benefits that those in red wine do, though preliminary research is promising.

Overall though, its how often and how much you drink not what you drink that really seems to affect your heart.

One large study showed that men who were moderate drinkers were 30 to 35 percent less likely to have a heart attack when compared with people who didnt drink at all.

And men who drank every day had a lower risk compared to those who drank only once or twice a week. This included men who drank wine, spirits, and, of course, beer.

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Health Conditions That Can Affect Cholesterol Tests:

If you are suffering from some inflammation or infection, it will affect your cholesterol test results. These can cause your HDL and total cholesterol levels to decrease. Not just physical conditions, but mental health conditions can also affect your blood cholesterol levels. Too much of stress can impact your cholesterol test readings and this can be misleading. About 10% decrease can occur in your HDL reading in the test, after rigorous exercising. So, it is recommended that you do not engage yourself in any sort of unusually vigorous exercise before taking this test.

If you have had a surgery recently, that too will have an impact on your cholesterol level. If you have had a heart attack or stroke recently or due to the surgery, your cholesterol test readings will be lowered. So, you must wait for at least 3 months after the surgery or stroke or heart attack before taking the test. The onset of a chronic disease like cancer can lower your blood cholesterol readings. In fact, sudden decrease in your total cholesterol levels is a sign that there might be malignancy in the body.

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How Does Alcohol Raise Your Cholesterol

  • When you drink alcohol, its broken down and rebuilt into triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver. So, drinking alcohol raises the triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood.
  • If your triglyceride levels become too high, they can build up in the liver, causing fatty liver disease. The liver cant work as well as it should and cant remove cholesterol from your blood, so your cholesterol levels rise.
  • Alcohol can lead to the combination of a high triglyceride level along with low HDL cholesterol. This can lead to heart disease.

Alcohol can affect your health in other ways too:

  • it can lead to weight gain, raising your risk of heart disease
  • it can raise your blood pressure, which also raises your risk of heart disease
  • it can lead to some types of cancer, liver disease, pancreatitis, depression and dependency.

Iv Resources On Alcohol And Cholesterol

whatischolesterol does alcohol affect cholesterol levels?

Web Pages

Libonati, J. and Schwinden, K. Good Cholesterol, Bad Cholesterol. Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2011.

Rinzler, C. and Graf, M. Controlling Cholesterol for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley, 2008

Senior, N. and Cuskelly, V. Eat to Beat Cholesterol. Chatswood, NSW: New Holland, 2016.


Baer, D. J., et al. Moderate alcohol consumption lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nurs, 2002, 75, 593-599.

De Oliveira, E. et al. Alcohol consumption raises HDL cholesterol levels. Circ, 2000, 102, 2347-2352.

Earnst, N. et al. The association of plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol with dietary intake and alcohol consumption. Circ, 1980, 62, IV 41-52.

Koppes, L., et al. Blood cholesterol levels of 32-year-old consumers are better than of nonconsumers. Pharm Biochem Behav, 2000, 66, 163-167.

Linn, S. et al. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and alcohol consumption. Am J Pub Health, 1993, 83, 811-816.

Suh, I. et al. Alcohol use and mortality from coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med. 1992, 116, 881-887.

References for Alcohol and Cholesterol

  • Tabara, Y., et al. Mendelian randomization analysis in three Japanese populations. A causal role of alcohol consumption. Athero, 2016, 254, 242-248.
  • Baer, D., et al. Moderate alcohol consumption lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr, 2002, 75, 593-539.
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    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

    Can Alcohol Have Any Benefits For Your Heart

    There is some evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption can be protective against coronary heart disease, but only in a specific section of the population women over 50 years of age.

    Even for women over 50, the risks of harm from alcohol outweigh any small benefit. The evidence for the small benefit to heart health doesnt justify drinking to protect your heart.

    This protective effect is only seen with low levels of alcohol consumption and doesnt appear to be dependent on the type of alcoholic drink for example, there is no evidence that red wine offers extra protection.7

    At all levels of alcohol consumption above one unit a day the protective effect disappears and there is instead an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

    However, even low-level drinking increases the risks of other very serious illnesses including other types of heart disease, several types of cancer, brain damage, pancreatitis and alcohol-related liver disease. The safest level of drinking is to drink no alcohol at all.8,9

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    Types Of Alcohol And Their Effect On Cholesterol

    According to the American Addiction Center , drinking more than moderate amounts of wine, beer, or liquor such as vodka, whisky, and gin can have a detrimental effect on a persons health, including causing elevated cholesterol levels.

    In addition, the type of alcohol a person consumes can have different effects on the body. The following sections will look at these types and their effects in more detail.

    Take Our Substance Abuse Self

    Does Moderate Alcohol Raise Bad Cholesterol? : Fresh Kitchen

    Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

    • Withdrawal when youre not drinking
    • Negatives effects on your personal and professional life caused by drinking
    • Building up a tolerance to alcohol, and the need to drink more to feel the effects

    Anyone can develop AUD. However, some things may contribute to it like stress, mental health issues, grief, and various traumatic experiences. While not everyone who experiences these things will develop AUD, these factors can have an impact.

    There are also key differences between alcohol misuse and addiction. Misuse occurs when alcohol has adverse effects on your personal and professional life. An addiction occurs when youre no longer able to control the habit.

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    Is Alcohol To Blame For High Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels

    Cholesterol and triglycerides are two forms of blood-borne fat that appear in the human circulatory system. People with too much LDL cholesterol or triglycerides in their bloodstreams can develop substantially increased risks for serious forms of heart disease. In a study published in December 2013 in the journal Alcohol, a team of Japanese researchers looked at the connection between LDL and triglyceride levels and occasional or habitual heavy consumption of alcohol. Does heavy drinking of alcohol affect triglycerides and cholesterol levels? This was the question the researchers wanted to answer. They found that even occasional heavy drinking can increase both triglycerides and bad cholesterol.

    Are There Any Benefits To Drinking Alcohol

    Have there been studies showing the potential benefits of a glass of red wine or a hoppy brew? Yes, admits Dr. Cho. But she cautions against thinking youre improving your health by giving back an alcoholic drink.

    Take, for example, the claim that alcohol can raise your good cholesterol, more officially known as high-density lipoprotein .

    There is some data that says that the good cholesterol raised by alcohol is dysfunctional, notes Dr. Cho on. So you may be increasing your HDL levels, but you may not see any real benefit.

    So dont be tempted to go to a brewery or wine bar with claims that libations double as a health tonic. Whatever the benefits of drinking alcohol are dwarfed by the increased risks of:

    Under the line? Youre not going to drink your way to better health, says Dr. Cho.

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    Signs Of Alcohol Use Disorder

    Alcohol use disorder occurs when a drinking problem hits a point where it becomes severe.

    Symptoms may include:

    • Drinking longer or more than you intended
    • Inability to quit drinking
    • Drinking to the point of feeling sick
    • Cravings for alcohol
    • Withdrawal when youre not drinking
    • Negatives effects on your personal and professional life caused by drinking
    • Building up a tolerance to alcohol, and the need to drink more to feel the effects

    Anyone can develop AUD. However, some things may contribute to it like stress, mental health issues, grief, and various traumatic experiences. While not everyone who experiences these things will develop AUD, these factors can have an impact.

    There are also key differences between alcohol misuse and addiction. Misuse occurs when alcohol has adverse effects on your personal and professional life. An addiction occurs when youre no longer able to control the habit.

    C1: 0 And Your Cellular Health

    #highcholesterollevels why does the body need some cholesterol?

    Pentadecanoic acid, or C15:0 for short, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that research supports as the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered since the omegas, over 90 years ago.

    How did we go that long without it? We didnt.

    C15:0 is found in whole-fat dairy products, some plants, and fish. While our circulating levels of C15:0 were once higher, dietary guidelines issued in the 1970s encouraged us to stay away from dietary fats and move towards becoming a fat-free society.

    The more recent trend toward plant-based milk replacements has caused our levels of C15:0 to decline further.

    The result? Were experiencing more negative health markers, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.

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    How To Approach Alcohol

    Though it sounds complicated, Kunal Karmali, MD, a cardiologist with Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, notes that the advice when it comes to beer, whiskey and other forms of alcohol and their effects on cholesterol can actually be fairly simple.

    “If someone already drinks alcohol, then I advise they drink in moderation,” he says. “But if someone is not, I certainly don’t recommend they start. For those who do drink alcohol, discipline needs to play a role in that protective benefit of alcohol consumption. The person needs to already have the discipline to consume alcohol in moderation.”

    As for what moderation means, Jocelyn Henning, director of the Stroke Program and Patient Safety at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, says it’s key to keep consumption low to ensure that alcohol is protecting the heart rather than harming it.

    “Some studies do show a cardio-protective effect for light-to-moderate drinking,” Henning says. “Women should have no more than one drink per day, and men no more than two drinks a day. Too much alcohol can lead to inflammation in the blood vessels.”

    Keep in mind that one drink means 12 ounces for beer, 5 ounces for wine and 1.5 ounces for spirits.

    Cholesterol And Triglyceride Basics

    Cholesterol comes in two main forms, known as LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. The human body needs some LDL cholesterol in circulation in order to remain healthy however, many people get much more of this substance than they require from dietary sources. HDL cholesterol helps diminish the risks associated with LDL cholesterol by removing some of the overage of this bad cholesterol from the bloodstream. People who have high amounts of LDL cholesterol and low amounts of HDL cholesterol in circulation typically have heightened chances of developing heart- and blood vessel-related ailments such as strokes, heart attacks and heart disease. Triglycerides are the main form of fat found in both foods in the human diet and in the human body itself. They appear in large amounts in the bloodstream when a person regularly consumes more fat than he or she requires at any given point in time, or as a consequence of certain uncontrolled physical ailments. Technically speaking, people with high triglyceride levels in their blood have a condition known as hypertriglyceridemia the presence of this condition may contribute to the onset of a form of heart disease called coronary artery disease. Many of the foods with a high triglyceride content also have a high LDL cholesterol content.

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    Can Damage From Excessive Drinking Be Reversed

    If a person struggling with alcohol use disorder stops drinking via a professional medical detox program, enters a rehabilitation program based in therapy, and maintains sobriety while their symptoms are still in the early stages, they may be able to reverse much of the damage to their body. The brain, in particular, seems especially able to heal damage. Other systems, like the immune system and the pancreas, may not be as able to heal damage. However, even if a person is not able to reverse damage caused to their body by problem drinking, stopping alcohol consumption and managing the addiction can still stop the progression of the disease.

    Who Should Be Tested

    Is alcohol bad for cholesterol?

    Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:

    • have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
    • are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
    • have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
    • have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
    • are overweight or obese
    • have high blood pressure or diabetes
    • have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides

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    Can We Eat And Drink The Day Before A Blood Test

    Most of the time a patient can eat and drink normally before the tests, while in some cases you will be asked not to eat or drink before the test. Alcohol is one of these restrictions. Patients are advised to avoid alcohol consumption one night before any test or medical procedure.

    Should you fast before a cholesterol test?

    Before a full cholesterol test, you will need to fast for 12 hours before the procedure, while a simple cholesterol test seeing only HDL and total cholesterol usually does not require fasting. Alcohol causes the triglycerides in your bloodstream to fluctuate dramatically.

    When should you stop drinking alcohol before a blood test?

    Therefore, the patient is advised to stop drinking alcohol 24 hours before going for the test. Alcohol has both positive and negative effects on humans. The positive effect makes it a mood-altering drug and helps to forget about sorrows.


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