The study, conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and Kailuan Hospital in China determined that drinking up to two alcoholic beverages a day may slow the decline of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which helps to remove “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol at high levels can cause plaque buildup in the arteries and increase a person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. High-density lipoprotein carries the ‘bad’ back to a person's liver, where it can be broken down and eliminated from the body.
For the study, the team analyzed 80,081 Chinese adults who were an average age of 49 years, Medical News Today reports. Participants were then grouped into those who never drink, used to drink, lightly drink, moderately drink, and heavy drinkers. Their drinks of choice were also recorded. Moderate drinking is described as one of two daily servings for men and up to one a day for women.
Participants HDL levels were then measured every two years beginning in 2006 and ending in 2012.
While all participants experienced a loss in HDL levels, researchers found that moderate drinkers experienced the slowest decline. They also found that those who drank beer saw a slower decline than those who preferred hard liquor. The study noted that they did not have enough wine drinkers to determine the correlation between drinking wine and slowed reduction of HDL.
"Alcohol consumption was associated with slower HDL decreases, with moderate consumption slowest. However, the data suggested differential effects on the basis of alcoholic beverage type,” the study claimed.