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Study: Reducing Alcohol Consumption Could Improve Heart Health

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study conducted by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a reduction in alcohol consumption could lead to improved heart health.

The study, published in the journal BMJ, looked at data from 50 previous studies that included information on over 260,000 individuals. Among those individuals who have a specific genetic variant linked to lower alcohol consumption, researchers found improved cardiovascular health. The study's authors say that their findings suggests that reducing alcohol consumption -- even for light to moderate drinkers -- may be beneficial for heart health.

Alcohol is among the leading risk factors for death and disability. Individuals who drink less alcohol had about a 10 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. They also typically had lower blood pressure and a lower body mass index.

The genetic variant that researchers used as a benchmark in their study typically break down alcohol more slowly, causing "unpleasant symptoms," which previous studies have shown is linked to diminished alcohol consumption.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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