Influence of alcohol consumption and smoking habits on cardiovascular risk factors and antioxidant status in healthy Korean men


Recently upper-body fat distribution, hyperhomocysteinemia, and depletion of antioxidants have been identified as important cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in Westernized populations, in addition to excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. The purpose of this study was to confirm the influence of alcohol consumption and smoking habits on cardiovascular risk factors in otherwise healthy Korean men, a population that has adopted many Westernized dietary and lifestyle practices. Subjects were divided into 6 groups: nondrinker-nonsmoker (NN, n=33), nondrinker-heavy smoker (NH, n=11), moderate drinker-nonsmoker (MN, n=46), moderate drinker-heavy smoker (MH, n=33), heavy drinker-nonsmoker (HN, n=14), and heavy drinker-heavy smoker (HH, n=15). All groups showed similar calorie and protein intakes while 65% of HH supplemented their diet with vitamins. Compared to moderate drinkers, HN consumed twice, and HH nearly three times as much alcohol accounting for 10% and 15% of total caloric intake, respectively. Despite their similar body mass index, heavy drinkers showed the highest mean value of waist to hip ratio and subcutaneous fat area at L1 and L4. HH showed higher serum levels of triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol but lower serum levels of transferrin and IGF-1, compared to nondrinkers. Plasma homocysteine levels were higher in HH than in NN. Heavy alcohol consumption in this study was positively associated with abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, and decreased carotenoid levels (β-carotene, cryptoxanthin, and lycopene) despite an observed healthy range of HDL-cholesterol for HH and HN groups. The simultaneous abuses of excessive alcohol and cigarette consumption by study subjects were correlated with low antioxidant levels and abnormal serum lipid and protein profiles. This data confirms the influence of alcohol and cigarettes on CVD risk factors and reports findings for a population of Korean men that are consistent with other reported world health literature.


Biomedical Sciences

Document Type





alcohol, smoking, atherosclerosis, carotenoids, homocysteine

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Journal Title

Nutrition Research