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Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Cut Fasting Insulin, HbA1c

Review and meta-analysis shows reductions among individuals without diabetes

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Among individuals without diabetes, moderate alcohol consumption may decrease fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) concentrations, according to a review and meta-analysis published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.

Ilse C. Schrieks, from the Netherlands Organization of Applied Scientific Research in Zeist, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies to examine the effect of alcohol consumption on insulin sensitivity and glycemic status. Data were included from 14 intervention studies in a meta-analysis of six glycemic end points.

The researchers found that, compared with the control condition, alcohol consumption did not influence estimated insulin sensitivity (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.08) or fasting glucose (SMD, 0.07), but was correlated with reductions in HbA1c (SMD, −0.62) and fasting insulin concentrations (SMD, −0.19). Among women, but not men, alcohol consumption correlated with reduced fasting insulin (SMD, −0.23) and tended to improve insulin sensitivity (SMD, 0.16). After excluding studies with high alcohol dosages (>40 g/day), results were similar. Dosage and duration of the intervention did not influence results.

"These results may partly explain the lower risk of type 2 diabetes with moderate alcohol consumption found in observational studies," the authors write. "However, more intervention studies with a longer intervention period are necessary to confirm the results."

Two of the authors were partially supported by the Dutch Foundation for Alcohol Research, representing Dutch producers of and traders in beer, wine, and spirits.

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