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Longitudinal study of alcohol consumption and HDL concentrations

Previous cross-sectional studies and shortterm clinical trials have indicated that there is a positive dose-response relation between alcohol consumption and HDL concentrations. However, prospective data have been limited.

A group of researchers examined the association between total alcohol intake, the type of alcoholic beverage, and the 6-year longitudinal change in HDL-cholesterol concentrations in a communitybased cohort.

The study included 71,379 Chinese adults with a mean age: of 50 years who were free of cardiovascular diseases and cancer and did not use cholesterollowering agents during follow-up. Alcohol intake was assessed via a questionnaire in 2006 (baseline), and participants were classified into categories of alcohol consumption: never, past, light (women: 0-0.4 servings/d; men: 0-0.9 servings/d), moderate (women: 0.5-1.0 servings/d; men: 1-2 servings/d), and heavy (women: >1.0 servings/d; men: >2 servings/d). HDL-cholesterol concentrations were measured in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Generalised estimating equation models were employed to examine the associations between baseline alcohol intake and the change in HDL-cholesterol concentrations adjusting for age, sex, smoking, physical activity, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, liver function, and C-reactive protein concentrations.

An umbrella-shaped association was observed between total alcohol consumption and changes in HDL-cholesterol concentrations. Compared with never drinkers, past, light, moderate, and heavy drinkers experienced slower decreases in HDL cholesterol of 0.012 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.008, 0.016 mmol . L-1 . y-1), 0.013 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.010, 0.016 mmol . L-1 . y-1), 0.017 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.009, 0.025 mmol . L-1 . y-1), and 0.008 mmol . L-1 . y-1 (95% CI: 0.005, 0.011 mmol . L-1 . y-1), respectively (P < 0.0001 for all), after adjustment for potential confounders. Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with the slowest increase in total-cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride: HDL-cholesterol ratios. A similar association was observed between hard-liquor consumption and the HDL-cholesterol change. In contrast, greater beer consumption was associated with slower HDL-cholesterol decreases in a doseresponse manner.

Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with slower HDL-cholesterol decreases; however, the type of alcoholic beverage had differential effects on the change in the HDL-cholesterol concentration, the study concludes.

Source: Longitudinal study of alcohol consumption and HDL concentrations: a community-based study. Huang S, Li, Shearer GC, Lichtenstein AH, Zheng X, Wu Y, Jin C, Wu S, Gao X. Issue: Am.J Clin.Nutr. / pages 905-912 / volume 105.

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