A study of 80,000 adults found the natural decline in high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol, in the body was slowed by a moderate intake of alcohol.
The results showed that one or two daily servings of alcohol for a man, or one for a woman, was associated with a slower HDL decline than either not drinking at all or drinking too heavily.
Although the trend applied to both beer and spirits, the effect was most visible for beer drinkers, the Pennsylvania State University study showed.
The research, which was conducted among Chinese adults, did not yield enough data on the effect of HDL decline from wine consumption to be able to draw valid conclusions.
UK g overnment advice recommends that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week, the equivalent of six pints of average-strength beer.
Presented at a meeting of the US Heart Association, the new research showed that moderate drinking arrested the decline in HDL as people get older more than twice as much than heavy drinking, which is defined as more than one daily serving of alcohol for women and more than two for men.
The scientists said more studies were needed to determine whether the alcohol-HDL association applied to non-Chinese populations.