Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular risk: Mechanisms of action and epidemiologic perspectives

Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Simona Costanzo, Romina di Giuseppe, Giovanni de Gaetano, Licia Iacoviello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An inverse association between moderate alcohol intake and caralovascular risk, in particular coronary disease and ischemic stroke, has been demonstrated in many epidemiologic studies. In addition several not primarily vascular diseases are also known to occur less frequently in moderate drinkers than in nondrinkers, whereas excess drinking is unquestionably harmful. As a Consequence, strong concern exists on the possibility that at any dosage the benefit of alcohol could overcome its harmful effects. Alcohol affects several biochemical factors that have potential cardioprotective benefits, including lipids, platelet aggregation, fibrinogen, tissue-plasminogen activator, plasminogen-activator inhibitor and omega-3 fatty acids. Wine possibly acts through mechanisms that might provide additional cardiovascular benefits. Mechanisms supporting the protective effect of moderate alcohol intake against cardiovascular disease, and epidemiologic evidence concerning the relationship between alcohol dosing and vascular and all-cause mortality are discussed in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-477
Number of pages11
JournalFuture Cardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Alcohol
  • Meta-analysis
  • Total mortality
  • Vascular risk
  • Wine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

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