Bad news: Wine only provides heart-health benefits for 15% of us

Many of us have been very pleased knowing (or believing) that having a glass of wine each night was actually doing our health a favor. It turns out, we all aren’t so lucky. Real benefits are only present for a select 15% of the population who have a certain genotype, according to a new study. […]

Many of us have been very pleased knowing (or believing) that having a glass of wine each night was actually doing our health a favor. It turns out, we all aren’t so lucky. Real benefits are only present for a select 15% of the population who have a certain genotype, according to a new study.

“Moderate drinking alone does not have a strong protective effect,” said study author Professor Lauren Lissner. “Nor does this particular genotype. But the combination of the two appears to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

For the study, which has been published in Alcohol, scientists from the University of Gothenberg enrolled more than 600 Swedes with coronary heart disease and almost 3,000 healthy controls. Participants were asked to honestly answer various questions about their lifestyles, such as how much alcohol they typically consumed, and whether they smoked or exercised regularly.

They found that moderate alcohol intake (2 drinks per day for men and 1 for women) was associated with protection against coronary heart disease, but only in lucky individuals with a variation of the CETP gene known as B2. For the other 85% of the population that possess the B1 variant, a drink or two a day doesn’t seem to bestow any cardiovascular health benefits.

So this is pretty much a bummer, but the research isn’t entirely definitive in nature. More work needs to be done, according to study author Professor Dag Thelle. He believes progress will be made and eventually we would be able to do a genetic test to determine if we fall into that select 15%.

[Photo from flickr user Emiliano De Laurentiis]