Alcohol’s Protective Effect on Heart: Another Possible Causal Mechanism
A review of the research literature concludes that one of the cardioprotective contributions of moderate drinking may be through a AKT/NRF2-dependent mechanism.
More specifically, consuming alcohol in moderation increases the involvement of nuclear factor (erythrioid-derived 2)-like (NFE2L2/NRF2) as well as AKT that act as regulators of oxidative balance during oxidative stress responses.
Numerous other mechanisms whereby moderate drinking contributes to improved cardiovascular health have been identified. They include the fact that:
- Alcohol improves blood lipid profile:
- It increases HDL ("good") cholesterol
- It decreases LDL ("bad") cholesterol
- It improves the size of HDL and LDL particles
- Alcohol decreases thrombosis (blood clotting):
- It reduces platelet aggregation
- It reduces fibrinogen (a blood clotter)
- It increases fibrinolysis (the process by which clots dissolve)
- Alcohol also acts through additional ways:
- It reduces coronary artery spasm in response to stress
- It increases coronary blood flow
- It reduces blood pressure
- It reduces blood insulin level
- It increases estrogen levels
The research evidence from around the world demonstrates that drinking alcohol in moderation causes improved health and increased longevity.
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- Walker, R.K., et al. The good, the bad, and the ugly with alcohol use on the heart. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013 Mar 25. doi: 10.1111/acer.12109. [Epub ahead of print]
filed under: Heart