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Nutrition and Metabolism

, 1:9

First Online: 14 October 2004Received: 16 September 2004Accepted: 14 October 2004


BackgroundEpidemiological studies suggest a non-monotonic effect of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular risk, while there is strong evidence concerning the involvement of homocysteine levels on thrombosis. The aim of this work was to evaluate the association between usual ethanol consumption and homocysteine levels, in cardiovascular disease free adults.

MethodsFrom May 2001 to December 2002 we randomly enrolled 1514 adult men and 1528 women, without any evidence of cardiovascular disease, stratified by age – gender census 2001, from the greater area of Athens, Greece. Among the variables ascertained we measured the daily ethanol consumption and plasma homocysteine concentrations.

ResultsData analysis revealed a J-shape association between ethanol intake none, <12 gr, 12 – 24 gr, 25 – 48 gr, >48 gr per day and total homocysteine levels mean ± standard deviation among males 13 ± 3 vs. 11 ± 3 vs. 14 ± 4 vs. 18 ± 5 vs. 19 ± 3 μmol-L, respectively, p < 0.01 and females 10 ± 4 vs. 9 ± 3 vs. 11 ± 3 vs. 15 ± 4 vs. 17 ± 3 μmol-L, respectively, p < 0.01, after controlling for several potential confounders. The lowest homocysteine concentrations were observed with ethanol intake of < 12 gr-day Bonferroni α* < 0.05. No differences were observed when we stratified our analysis by type of alcoholic beverage consumed.

ConclusionWe observed a J-shape relationship between homocysteine concentrations and the amount of ethanol usually consumed.

Keywordsethanol homocysteine inflammation Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1743-7075-1-9 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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