Background: Although moderate drinking confers a decreased risk of myocardial infarction, the roles of the drinking pattern and type of beverage remain unclear.
Methods: We studied the association of alcohol consumption with the risk of myocardial infarction among 38,077 male health professionals who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at base line. We assessed the consumption of beer, red wine, white wine, and liquor individually every four years using validated food-frequency questionnaires. We documented cases of nonfatal myocardial infarction and fatal coronary heart disease from 1986 to 1998.
Results: During 12 years of follow-up, there were 1418 cases of myocardial infarction. As compared with men who consumed alcohol less than once per week, men who consumed alcohol three to four or five to seven days per week had decreased risks of myocardial infarction (multivariate relative risk, 0.68 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.55 to 0.84] and 0.63 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.54 to 0.74], respectively). The risk was similar among men who consumed less than 10 g of alcohol per drinking day and those who consumed 30 g or more. No single type of beverage conferred additional benefit, nor did consumption with meals. A 12.5-g increase in daily alcohol consumption over a four-year follow-up period was associated with a relative risk of myocardial infarction of 0.78 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.62 to 0.99).
Conclusions: Among men, consumption of alcohol at least three to four days per week was inversely associated with the risk of myocardial infarction. Neither the type of beverage nor the proportion consumed with meals substantially altered this association. Men who increased their alcohol consumption by a moderate amount during follow-up had a decreased risk of myocardial infarction.
Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society