Epidemiologic studies have investigated the relation between alcohol intake and coronary calcification, with controversial results. Furthermore, the influence of heavy drinking has not been well elucidated. In the present study, a random sample of community-based Japanese men aged 40 to 49 years without a history of cardiovascular disease (n=245) were examined for coronary artery calcium (CAC) determined by electron-beam computed tomography and drinking status. There was a J-shaped association between alcohol intake and CAC. There was an increase of CAC in heavy drinkers (>or=46 g/day), and participants who were drinking>or=69 g/day showed a significant increase in CAC compared with never drinkers after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors.