Light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, as well as ischaemic stroke and possibly type 2 diabetes. Epidemiological and physiological data are in favour of a causal relationship. Proposed protective mechanisms include the stimulation of HDL-mediated processes such as reverse cholesterol transport and antioxidative effects. More well-controlled studies are needed to provide a complete understanding of the complexity of the underlying physiological mechanisms.
aDepartment of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, bTNO Nutrition and Food Research, Department of Nutritional Physiology, Zeist, the Netherlands
Correspondence to Arie van Tol, Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 10 408 7321; fax: +31 10 408 9472; e-mail: VANTOL@BC1.FGG.EUR.NL