Light and moderate alcohol consumption,classed as up to two drinks per day, is associated with a 9 per cent reduced risk in suffering an ischemic stroke. Women who drink just one glass or less of alcohol per day were 12 per cent less at risk.
But the research, published in the BMC Medicine journal on Wednesday, admits that alcohol consumption is still associated with high cholesterol levels and hemorrhagic strokes.
"Previous research has found an association between alcohol consumption and lower levels of fibrinogen; a protein in the body which helps the formation of blood clots,” said lead author Dr Susanna Larsson. “While this may explain the association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and lower ischemic stroke risk, the adverse effect of alcohol consumption on blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke and outweigh any potential benefit.”
Dr Larsson, from the Karolinska Institutet near Stockholm, who conducted the research with the University of Cambridge, had a total sample of 18,289 ischemic stroke cases, 2,299 intracerebral haemorrhage cases and 1,164 subarachnoid haemorrhage cases.