Moderate alcohol ingestion has a clear association with improved cardiac outcomes in epidemiologic studies, and this study released today in the Journal of the American Heart Association convincingly links the level of alcohol consumption to changes in arterial stiffness. Following a large population over 25 years, they carefully collected data on alcohol intake and measured arterial stiffness by pulse wave velocity. Non-drinkers showed the greatest increase in arterial stiffness over time, followed by heavy drinkers. Moderate drinkers once again fared the best, showing the slowest increases in stiffness. Moderate alcohol intake has been associated with increases in HDL cholesterol, but that did not explain the differences in arterial stiffness in this study.
See full-text of study here.