An Italian Longitudinal Study states that a protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on the cardiovascular system has consistently been reported, but limited evidence has been produced on the association of alcohol with metabolic factors in the elderly.
Source: Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in older lifelong wine drinkers: the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging Author: Perissinotto E; Buja A; Maggi S; Enzi G; Manzato E; Scafato E; Mastrangelo G; Frigo AC; Coin A; Crepaldi G; Sergi G Journal: Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases Citation: Vol 20, No 9, 2010, pp647-655
The aim of the study by Perssinotto of the department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padova, Italy and colleagues was to investigate the association between different levels of current alcohol consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in a representative sample of elderly Italian men, mainly wine drinkers.
The cross-sectional multi-centre study had a population-based sample of Italian men aged 65-84 years, drawn from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA) cohort. The analyses included 1,896 men. Almost all the drinkers (98%) drank wine as a lifelong habit.
Adjusted ORs for risk levels for cardiovascular factors were estimated, comparing drinkers with teetotalers using multivariate logistic regression models. The authors found that alcohol consumption in older age associated with healthier hematological values of fibrinogen, HDL cholesterol, Apo A-I lipoprotein and insulin, but it was also associated with a worse hematological picture of total, LDL cholesterol levels, and systolic pressure.
The authors conclude that in elderly moderate wine drinkers a noticeably safe metabolic, inflammatory and glycemic profile that might balance higher blood pressure, leading to a net benefit.