Fifty-four untreated, mildly hypertensive men whose daily alcohol consumption was ≥28 ml ethanol and who drank at least 4 times per week took part in a randomized, controlled crossover trial. The purpose of the trial was to test the effects of alcohol reduction on blood pressure. After a 2- week familiarization period, the participants were assigned to either a reduced alcohol drinking group or a usual drinking group for 3 weeks (experimental period 1). The situation was then reversed for the next 3 weeks (experimental period 2). The participants were requested to limit their daily alcohol consumption to zero or reduce it as much as possible for the reduced alcohol consumption period. The self-reported alcohol consumption was 56.1±3.6 (SEM) ml/day during the usual alcohol drinking period and 26.1±3.0 ml/day during the period of reduced alcohol consumption. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures in the intervention group were found by analysis of variance to be significantly lower (2.6-4.8 and 2.2-3.0 mm Hg, respectively) than those in the control group during experimental period 2 for systolic blood pressure and experimental period 1 for diastolic blood pressure. Significant (3.6 mm Hg) and nonsignificant (1.9 mm Hg) decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, were observed. The method of Hills and Armitage was used, reducing ethanol in daily alcohol consumption by 28 ml. The lowering effect of reduced alcohol consumption on blood pressure was independent of changes in salt consumption, which were estimated by 24- hour urine collection and body weight. It was concluded that a reduction in daily alcohol drinking of ethanol from 56 ml to half that amount was feasible and effective in lowering blood pressure for nontreated mildly hypertensive patients who regularly consume alcohol.
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