Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Cardiovascular Health

  • Sunny Goel
  • Abhishek Sharma
  • Aakash Garg
Ischemic Heart Disease (D Mukherjee, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Ischemic Heart Disease


Purpose of Review

This review aims to discuss the effect of alcohol consumption on various cardiovascular (CV) diseases and CV mortality.

Recent Findings

Alcohol intake has consistently shown a J- or U-shaped relationship with several cardiovascular diseases. Light to moderate alcohol intake has been associated with lower risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure (HF), as well as CV mortality. On the other hand, heavy consumption has been associated with deleterious CV outcomes including increased mortality. However, the evidence is based from observational and population-based studies where risk of confounding cannot be excluded even after meticulous methodological approaches. This is compounded by conflicting data such as higher risk of certain CV diseases like HF in former drinkers compared to abstainers. Further, Mendelian randomization studies using genetic polymorphisms in enzymes have recently questioned the beneficial association of low-moderate drinking with CV system.


There has been substantial and consistent evidence that light to moderate alcohol consumption have beneficial effect on overall cardiovascular profile and mortality. However, there are considerable limitations in the reported literature to determine a strong causality of a protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption by itself. Further robust studies or possibly a well-structured randomized controlled could bring an end to this debate.


Alcohol Coronary artery disease Heart failure Cardiovascular mortality Cardio protection Cardiomyopathy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Abhishek Sharma, Sunny Goel, and Aakash Garg declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cardiovascular MedicineMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Division of Cardiovascular MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Cardiovascular Research and TechnologyBrooklynUSA
  4. 4.Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNew BrunswickUSA

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