A Study finds that Small amounts of Alcohol may reduce Stress

A Study finds that Small amounts of Alcohol may reduce Stress | The Lifesciences Magazine

Researchers claim they may be able to explain why moderate drinking is good for the heart because, contrary to what was previously believed, it acts on the brain rather than the blood as was once supposed. However, because alcohol also increases the risk of cancer at any level, according to researchers, they don’t advise people to drink. Understanding this mechanism may instead suggest better approaches to obtaining the same effect, for as through meditation or exercise.

Excerpts from the Study

Large epidemiological studies have demonstrated for decades that people who drink moderately—less than one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men—have lower risks of serious cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes than both those who don’t drink at all and those who drink more.

However, scientists have never been able to pinpoint the precise reason why this is the case. Drinkers have lower levels of a sticky protein called fibrinogen in their blood, which may minimise the risk of severe clots. Alcohol also appears to enhance levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Additionally, alcohol may improve insulin sensitivity in small doses. But it seems like these don’t adequately communicate the benefit.

So a group of cardiologists in Boston decided to turn their attention to the brain. Senior author of the study and co-director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, observed that after consuming a small amount of alcohol, you feel comfortable before you become drunk.

Results after examining Thousands

“The first effect that people experience with short-term alcohol is a little bit of a destressing response,” he said. Tawakol and his team examined the drinking patterns of thousands of participants in the Mass General Brigham Biobank for the study. Even after correcting for genetic, lifestyle, and other risk variables, they discovered that people who drank one to 14 drinks per week were less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than people who drank less than one drink per week.

Study finds no amount of alcohol is safe to drink

A large number of these individuals had their brains scanned as part of the study, and it was discovered that those who drank little to moderately had reduced stress responses in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for processing fear and threats, as well as fewer heart attacks and strokes. According to Tawakol, “we discovered that the brain changes in light to moderate drinkers explained a sizable portion of the protective cardiac effects.” The advantages were more common among those with a history of worry.

Read More: 10 Tips to Destress and Reduce Anxiety

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