Alcohol cuts metabolic disease risk

Updated: Feb 23, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Researchers have found that moderate drinkers tend to have about 30 percent lower risk of developing late onset diabetes than do non-drinkers, and moderate drinkers also tend to be at lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

A cross-sectional analysis of 6172 subjects age 35 -75 in Switzerland related varying levels of alcohol intake to the presence of DM, MS, and an index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).

Alcohol consumption was categorized as non-drinkers, low-risk, medium-to-high-risk and very-high-risk drinkers. 73% of participants consumed alcohol, 16pc were medium-to-high-risk drinkers and 2% very-high risk drinkers

The study found that the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and mean HOMA-IR decreased with low-risk drinking and increased with high-risk drinking.

Adjusted prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 24% in non-drinkers, 19% in low-risk, 20% in medium-to-high-risk and 29pc in very-high-risk drinkers.

Adjusted prevalence of diabetes was 6.0pc in non-drinkers, 3.6% in low-risk, 3.8% in medium-to-high-risk and 6.7% in very-high-risk drinkers. These relationships did not differ according to beverage types.

Moderate drinkers also had the lowest weight, tryglycerides, and blood pressure. All drinkers had higher HDL-cholesterol values (that is good cholesterol) than did non-drinkers.

Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a so called ``lifestyle disease``, where patients exhibit multiple medical problems including high blood pressure, late on set diabetes, and high cholesterol.