Not only red wine ups 'good' cholesterol

Dec. 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

HOUSTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Despite popular notions it's just red wine that positively impacts cholesterol levels, any alcohol will do, a U.S. metabolic disease expert says.

"Recent meta-studies have shown there's nothing magical about red wine," Henry Pownall, a chemist at Methodist Hospital in Houston who has been studying fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism for over four decades, said in a statement. "You see the same effects from drinking small amounts of other kinds of alcohol."

Pownall said it is alcohol itself -- ethanol -- that is responsible for increasing the level of high-density lipoprotein, or the "good," cholesterol.

Ethanol is broken down into acetic acid -- vinegar -- in cells, and it's acetic acid that cranks up processes that increase production of good HDL cholesterol. It is not clear whether acetic alone also lowers low-density lipoprotein, or the "bad," cholesterol, Pownall said.

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