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Studies Suggest Cardiovascular Sweet Spot at Two Drinks per Day

New studies provide reassuring evidence that drinking two alcoholic beverages per day is not harmful to cardiovascular health.

A meta-analysis of 36 trials found that reducing alcohol intake lowered blood pressure in a dose-dependent fashion.

Lowering alcohol consumption had no significant effect on blood pressure for people drinking two alcoholic beverages per day, but was associated with higher subsequent BP reduction for those drinking beyond this level.

People who threw back six or more drinks per day at baseline and cut their intake roughly in half had the strongest reduction in systolic BP (mean difference -5.50 mm Hg; 95% CI -6.70 to -4.30) and diastolic BP (mean difference -3.97 mm Hg; 95% CI -4.70 to -3.25).

"For heavy drinkers, a reduction in alcohol consumption to two or fewer drinks per day could be the first choice in treatment of hypertension," lead author Dr Michael Roerecke (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON) and colleagues write in the study, published online in Lancet Public Health.