Alcohol Consumption And Impact On Cholesterol Levels

Alcohol consumption is certainly typical in the world. It estimated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that approximately half of the citizens are drinking on a regular basis. At this time, scientific studies reveal that men and women that drink without excess might be more healthy in certain aspects in comparison to heavy drinkers as well as those that refrain completely. Among the advantages of moderate alcohol consumption, there is surprisingly a positive impact on cholesterol levels.

What does drinking alcohol moderately mean?

No more than a couple of drinks a day is considered good for men while one drink (5 oz. of wine or 12 oz. of beer) is OK for women. These quantities are the normal concise explanation of moderate alcohol consumption. Having said that, men and women that are over the age of 65 are advised to have no more than one drink per day.

How does alcohol affect cholesterol?

In 2001, the American Heart Association (AHA) released in its magazine “Circulation”, that scientific researchers connected the intake of alcohol with an increase of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). However, this increase of HDL level was noticed only for a certain dose. The test subjects that were given moderate volumes of alcohol experienced the most increase in HDL cholesterol while at the same time a decrease was observed with those that were given something like a heavy drinker. Comparable effects had been discovered with the LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) as revealed by a study released in “Alcohol and Alcoholism”. Scientists were checking out the dissimilarity among males having diabetic issues and those that didn’t. Whether they were diabetic or not, the moderate drinkers had lower LDL cholesterol levels.

What happens when you drink excessively?

Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, the organ also responsible for metabolizing fats. When the alcohol in the body is excessive the enzymes responsible for metabolizing fats must fulfill another function, taking care of metabolizing the excess alcohol, which leads to an increase in fat concentration in the liver and therefore an increase in bad cholesterol or LDL.

Alcohol consumption and overall risk for cardiovascular disease

It is essential to think of the impact of alcohol consumption on HDL cholesterol level in perspective of every variable that plays a role in heart illness. Although 30 ml of alcohol can improve HDL, it is imperative to keep in mind that exactly the same quantity of alcohol at the same time elevated the triglycerides levels increasing the risk of getting a cardiovascular disease of approximately 5%. Therefore, alcohol may lower heart illness somewhat but can also increase it.

Powerful antioxidants – the added benefits of red wine

Does alcohol consumption affect cholesterol?You may have heard of the benefits of red wine in lowering risk of cardiovascular disease. This is in fact due to non-alcoholic components of red wine: tannins. Tannins are natural, astringent and bitter substances that come from the maceration of the skins and aging in wood. Its presence is felt on the tongue and gums. Tannins from fruit skin macerated grape musts are healthier and fine, whereas wood tannins are more aggressive. Tannins are plant polyphenols composed of a series of compounds (phenolic acids, flavonoids, and resveratrol) containing aromatic rings with highly antioxidants properties.
Polyphenols have been demonstrated according to studies published in 2007 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to inhibit a type of LDL oxidation due to free radicals damage. Oxidized LDL is responsible for plaque formation in arterial blood vessels that result in atherosclerosis. Red wine by limiting the atherosclerosis process reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Warnings and recommendations

The AHA acknowledges the research findings that point out that a reasonable intake of alcohol may result in greater HDL levels with a reduction of LDL oxidation in the case of wine. Nevertheless, additionally, they alert that while additional studies are needed to more effectively figure out the factors for these particular modifications, more alcohol consumption (wine, beer, spirits or any other alcoholic drinks) will likely raise the risks of addiction, hypertension, stroke, weight problems, cancer, accidents as well as suicide. For that reason, the AHA doesn’t suggest to begin drinking or raise your intake of alcohol, in order to impact your levels of cholesterol. They recommend exercising more and to follow a low cholesterol diet by eating more veggies and fruits coupled with limiting your consumption of high cholesterol foods.


1- Young Adult Drinking. NIAAA Publications – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Available online at Accessed on 4/05/17.
2- The Line Between Moderate Alcohol Consumption & Binge Drinking. American Addiction Centers. Available online at Accessed on 4/05/17.
3- Alcohol Consumption And Cardiovascular Mortality In Hypertensive Patients. Circulation AHA Journals. Available online at Accessed on 3/05/17.
4- Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality in Women: Potential Mediating Mechanisms. NCBI. Available online at Accessed on 19/05/17.

Updated on 28/06/19

Medical Disclaimer

Although we base our articles on recent scientific researches, the content on should not be considered as medical advice or a recommendation for medical treatment, but as educational and informational articles that are strictly the personal opinion of's authors. As the reader, you are recommended to consult your doctor to discuss any health issues and treatments. We shall not be held responsible or liable for possible health consequences from following the information in our articles.