Disease Proof

A-Fib and Moderate Drinking

As a twenty-something with a social life, I can tell you firsthand, it’s very hard to completely avoid alcohol. As Fuhrman-unfriendly as it is, I do imbibe from time to time—now here’s the bad part. According to Dr. Fuhrman even moderate drinking can lead to problems. From Eat to Live:
It is much wiser to avoid the detrimental effects of alcohol completely and protect yourself from heart disease with nutritional excellence. For example, even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to higher rates of breast cancer and to occurrence of atrial fibrillation.1
And Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one talking about this. Recently he sent me this article—no, not as part of some intervention—talking about alcohol and the link between atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation. Bruce Jancin of Family Practice News reports on some interesting new research. Take a look:
The study involved 195 consecutive patients with AF or atrial flutter, two-thirds of whom were aged 60 years or younger, and 186 controls, three-quarters of whom had supraventricular tachycardia, while the rest were healthy. One in five of the participants was a regular drinker. Four-fifths of them fell within the 1–2 drinks per day category generally classified as moderate drinking, which is often recommended as cardioprotective.


After adjustment for potential confounders including age, gender, race, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and heart failure in a multivariate regression analysis, individuals aged 60 or younger with AF or atrial flutter who drank alcohol daily were 4.5 times more likely to have AF or atrial flutter compared with arrhythmia-free controls, and 2.5 times more likely to have AF or flutter compared with patients with supraventricular tachycardia.
Well, to my credit. The overriding reason why I keep my drinking to a minimum is because my long-term health is more important to me than a “good” time. Actually, I’d love to hear how all of you handle a healthy lifestyle and drinking. Please, do tell.
1. Wright, R. M., J.L. McManaman, and J.E. Rapine. 1999. Alcohol induced breast cancer: a proposed mechanism. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 26 (3-4): 348-54; Dorgan, J.F., D.J. Baer, P.S. Albert, et al. 2001. Serum hormones and the alcohol-breast cancer association in post menopausal women. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 93 (9): 710-16; Jancin, B. 2002. Just a few drinks raise risk of atrial fibrillation. Family Physician News, January 11:4.
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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Curious - September 5, 2007 8:51 AM

I tried to abstain from drinking alcohol when my wife was pregnant to keep her company and it was very challenging since it's customary to drink socially in our family. We substituted sparkling water and soda. You couldn't tell the difference. Today we both drink at most 1-2 drinks at an event which happens every few months.

Alcohol is a drug, and like all drugs should be avoided if possible because of the toxic effects on the body.

rob - November 1, 2009 5:50 PM

im 36yrs old and i have just recently had my 2nd episode of afib, the first incident happened 3-4 yrs ago. i was a huge partier, did steroids and recreational drugs and drinking. this time i over did it again, drinking red bull and vodka, jameson whiskey..alot and got into an aruement w my girlfriend ran up and down 3flights of stairs half dozen times,...next u know i was in afib again..do you all think it wasa the drinking..or the red bull and running around w/ drinking?.if i just drink moderale do u think i will be ok?..i love to kick back a few?..

Zeke - February 22, 2010 11:25 PM

We have to remember the difference between correlation and causation. while excessive consumption of alcohol can cause and worsen atrial fibrillation problems. I see no reason to stop having one drink a day for cardioprotective effects. Same thing with caffein. If it were as bad as they say it is, the entire nation would have failing hearts. That said, moderation is important. I have a cup of tea in the morning and the occaisional glass of red wine with dinner, and I haven't had an a-fib attack in ages.

stump - April 22, 2011 2:17 AM

Did doc put you on all kinds of drugs for your afib?

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