Alcohol consumption associates with lower endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation
Alcohol and red wine consumption, but not fruit, vegetables, fish or dairy products, are associated with less endothelial dysfunction and less low-grade inflammation: the Hoorn Study
It has been shown that a healthy diet is associated with reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease and moreover, that the extent of a healthy diet is associated with the degree of endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation [1,2].
The relation of separate food components to each other has, however, almost never been studied, nor the association between diet and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, an estimate of endothelium-dependent vasodilator function [3-5].
In the 2000 Hoorn study, it was therefore examined to what extent associations between fruit, vegetables, fish, dairy products, alcohol and red wine consumption and biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and FMD or low-grade inflammation were present in 738 Dutch elderly individuals. Diet intake was assessed by a self-administered food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and biomarkers were quantified in serum. Main results focus on independent associations only.
Various models were used for multiple correction: 1) adjusted for sex, age, glucose metabolism status, energy intake and for FMD additionally for baseline diameter and flow increase, 2) model 1 additionally adjusted for body mass index, current smoking, prior cardiovascular disease, educational level and physical activity, 3) model 2 additionally adjusted for vegetable, fruit, fish and dairy product consumption, 4a) model 2 additionally adjusted for red wine, 4b) model 2 additionally adjusted for alcohol.
- Compared to non-consumers, moderate and high alcohol consumers had a lower endothelial dysfunction biomarker score: β = -0.16 (95% CI -0.37 to 0.04) and -0.23 (95% CI -0.45 to -0.01), respectively (model 1, P trend = 0.051). This was also significant in model 2 and 3, but not 4a. Interestingly, model 4a corrects for red wine consumption.
- Red wine consumers had a lower endothelial dysfunction biomarkers score (β = 0.21, 95% CI -0.35 to -0.07, P trend = 0.004) compared to non-consumers (model 1). This was also significant in all other models.
- Compared to non-consumers, red wine consumers had a lower low-grade inflammation biomarker score (β = -0.23, 95% CI -0.37 to -0.09, model 1, P trend = 0.002), which remained significant in all other models.
- Alcohol and red wine consumption were not significantly associated with FMD, nor was alcohol consumptions significantly associated with the biomarker score for low-grade inflammation. Also vegetable, fruit, fish and diary product consumption were not associated with these processes.
- In individuals with clinical disease, the consumption of red wine was inversely associated with low-grade inflammation circulation biomarker score (P interaction = 0.09) and consumption of dairy products was inversely associated with the endothelial dysfunction biomarker score (P interaction = 0.07).
Of the 5 food groups, only moderate/high consumption of alcohol and red wine were associated with a lower endothelial dysfunction biomarker score and greater FMD and red wine consumption was also associated with lower biomarkers of low-grade inflammation. Results for the other food groups including vegetable, fruit, fish and dairy products, were less clear. As observed associations were independent of consumption of the other food groups, this suggests that alcohol-containing beverage consumption may favourable influence endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation.