After an initial two-week abstinence period, they were separated into three groups assigned to a different beverage: three ounces of gin, 10 ounces of red wine or 10 ounces of nonalcoholic red wine. After four weeks of daily consumption, the men rotated to a new beverage, and so forth with the third beverage.
After each rotation, researchers measured blood pressure, heart rate, and nitric oxide levels in the blood, and then a statistical analysis was performed.
They found a reduction in blood pressure after the men drank red wine but it was not statistically significant, and gin consumption did not reduce blood pressure. However, after the men drank the alcohol-free red wine, blood pressure levels dropped significantly. Systolic blood pressure levels decreased by about 6 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure levels dropped by 2 mmHg.
In theory, the authors said those changes could reduce the risk of heart disease by 14 percent and cut the chance of a stroke almost 20 percent.
Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Sharonne Hayes said the new research is "a hypothesis-generating study" that needs more investigation.
"Gin, Mai Tais, wine, beer -- a lot of studies would suggest that when it all comes down to it, it's the alcohol. But then there was a rise of interest in polyphenols -- resveratrol in red wine and grapes. But most of those studies showed that giving polyphenols by themselves showed no benefit or change. So the thinking has circled back to maybe it's just the alcohol," Hayes said.
She noted that the study was small, with no control group. She said it's known that blood pressure goes up when alcohol is withdrawn, even if the person is not a heavy drinker, and she speculated that the two-week "wash-out" period before the study could have influenced the results.
"So I have problems with the methods in this study. It's intriguing; it's suggestive, but not definitive. It needs to be explored. The methods may n
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