Wine, beer or spirit drinking in relation to fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events: a meta-analysis


In previous studies evaluating whether different alcoholic beverages would protect against cardiovascular disease, a J-shaped relationship for increasing wine consumption and vascular risk was found; however a similar association for beer or spirits could not be established. An updated meta-analysis on the relationship between wine, beer or spirit consumption and vascular events was performed. Articles were retrieved through March 2011 by PubMed and EMBASE search and a weighed least-squares regression analysis pooled data derived from studies that gave quantitative estimation of the vascular risk associated with the alcoholic beverages. From 16 studies, evidence confirms a J-shaped relationship between wine intake and vascular risk. A significant maximal protection—average 31% (95% confidence interval (CI): 19–42%) was observed at 21 g/day of alcohol. Similarly, from 13 studies a J-shaped relationship was apparent for beer (maximal protection: 42% (95% CI: 19–58%) at 43 g/day of alcohol). From 12 studies reporting separate data on wine or beer consumption, two closely overlapping dose–response curves were obtained (maximal protection of 33% at 25 g/day of alcohol). This meta-analysis confirms the J-shaped association between wine consumption and vascular risk and provides, for the first time, evidence for a similar relationship between beer and vascular risk. In the meta-analysis of 10 studies on spirit consumption and vascular risk, no J-shaped relationship could be found.

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Supported in part by Cervisia Consulenze and Istituto Nazionale per la Comunicazione.

Conflict of interest

This was an investigator-initiated study. The partial sponsor of the study had no role in the selection of articles or conduct of the analyses or drafting of the manuscript. We disclaim any other relationships with industry that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

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Correspondence to Licia Iacoviello.

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Costanzo, S., Di Castelnuovo, A., Donati, M.B. et al. Wine, beer or spirit drinking in relation to fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events: a meta-analysis. Eur J Epidemiol 26, 833–850 (2011).

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  • Meta-analysis
  • Alcohol
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Mortality