Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a decrease in cardiovascular risk, but fermented beverages seem to confer greater cardiovascular protection due to their polyphenolic content. Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) are bone-marrow-derived stem cells with the ability to repair and maintain endothelial integrity and function and are considered as a surrogate marker of vascular function and cumulative cardiovascular risk. Nevertheless, no study has been carried out on the effects of moderate beer consumption on the number of circulating EPC in high cardiovascular risk patients.
To compare the effects of moderate consumption of beer, non-alcoholic beer and gin on the number of circulating EPC and EPC-mobilizing factors.
In this crossover trial, 33 men at high cardiovascular risk were randomized to receive beer (30 g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of polyphenols in the form of non-alcoholic beer, or gin (30 g alcohol/d) for 4 weeks. Diet and physical exercise were carefully monitored.
The number of circulating EPC and EPC-mobilizing factors were determined at baseline and after each intervention. After the beer and non-alcoholic beer interventions, the number of circulating EPC significantly increased by 8 and 5 units, respectively, while no significant differences were observed after the gin period. In correlation, stromal cell derived factor 1 increased significantly after the non-alcoholic and the beer interventions.
The non-alcoholic fraction of beer increases the number of circulating EPC in peripheral blood from high cardiovascular risk subjects.