Page last updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Research fails to explain alcohol's preventative effect on diabetes
Researchers were surprised to find that reduced inflammation and improved blood-vessel function do not explain why women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Drinking moderately is known to reduce inflammation and improve endothelial function, as well as improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Joline Beulens of the University Medical Center Utrecht and colleagues studied 705 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study who developed diabetes between 1989 and 2000, and 787 diabetes-free participants as controls. The latter either did not drink or drank, on average, 12.5 grams of alcohol daily.

The researchers found that for every 12.5 grams of increased alcohol intake, the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes dropped by 42 percent. However, statistical analysis showed that inflammation markers, markers of poor endothelial function, and degree of insulin sensitivity were not involved in the relationship between alcohol intake and diabetes.

On the other hand, the researchers found that levels of adiponectin -- a hormone secreted by fatty tissue that regulates how the body uses fat and glucose -- played a significant role in alcohol’s protective effects in women.

Source: Alcohol Consumption, Mediating Biomarkers, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Middle-Aged Women. J. Beulens, PhD, E. Rimm, ScD, Frank B. Hu, PhD, Henk F.J. Hendriks, PhD and K Mukamal, MD Research Fails to Explain Alcohol’s Preventative Effect on Diabetes.

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