Prevention of cardiovascular risk by moderate alcohol consumption: epidemiologic evidence and plausible mechanisms

Intern Emerg Med. 2010 Aug;5(4):291-7. doi: 10.1007/s11739-010-0346-0. Epub 2010 Feb 3.


An inverse association between moderate alcohol intake and cardiovascular risk, in particular coronary disease and ischemic stroke, has been shown in many epidemiologic studies. In addition, several other diseases are also known to occur less frequently in moderate drinkers than in non-drinkers, whereas excess of drinking is invariably harmful. However, some concern has been recently raised about the possibility that at all dosages the harm of alcohol could overcome its beneficial effects. We present here the epidemiologic and mechanistic evidence to support the protective effect of moderate alcohol intake against cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment


  • Ethanol