Background: Little is known about association between markers of inflammation and alcohol consumption in Russian population where binge drinking pattern is prevalent.
Methods and results: C-reactive protein was measured by a highly sensitive particle-enhanced immunoturbidimetric assay (hsCRP) in 1963 men and 1734 women, aged 18-90 years, in a population-based cross-sectional study. Total alcohol consumption consisted mainly of binge vodka intake. A revealed U-shaped association between hsCRP and total alcohol intake was due to high hsCRP levels in ex-drinkers. Ex-drinkers of both sexes were older and reported more diseases than non-abstainers. This U-shaped association became non-significant in both sexes after adjustment for age, BMI, smoking status, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular medication. When analysis was performed separately only for non-abstainers, hsCRP showed a positive linear association with total weekly alcohol consumption and with weekly vodka consumption in both sexes.
Conclusions: The U-shaped association between hsCRP and weekly alcohol consumption was due to higher hsCRP levels in ex-drinkers than in non-abstainers. Factors other than the current level of alcohol consumption might be responsible for high hsCRP levels in ex-drinkers. When abstainers were excluded from analyses, the results indicated a pro-inflammatory effect of binge alcohol consumption in non-abstainers.