(1) Institute for Heart & Vascular Health, Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, USA
(2) Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, USA
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The effects of moderate alcohol consumption on the lipid profile are well-documented, showing an association between alcohol-induced increases in HDL-C levels and cardioprotection (though there remains some debate). Whereas prior research was focused on alcohol-induced changes in lipoprotein levels, the paradigm has shifted to the composition of lipoproteins, with emphasis on smaller lipid molecules such as sphingolipids. The benefits of red wine over other forms of alcohol have not been proven clinically, especially in terms of effects on the lipid profile. This review discusses the effects of alcohol on lipoprotein levels and function as related to atherosclerosis and CVD risk.
Direct evidence to recommend drinking alcohol in moderation for decreasing cardiovascular risk is still lacking, and presents another avenue for clinical research.