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The effect of alcohol consumption on insulin sensitivity and glycemic status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies

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Author: Schrieks, I.C. · Heil, A.L. · Hendriks, H.F. · Mukamal, K.J. · Beulens, J.W.
Source:Diabetes care, 4, 38, 723-732
Identifier: 528423
doi: doi:10.2337/dc14-1556
Article number: 25805864
Keywords: Biology · Alcohol · Blood · Clinical trial (topic) · Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 · Drinking behavior · Drug effects · Glucose blood level · Meta analysis · Metabolism · Middle aged · Statistics and numerical data · Adult · Alcohol Drinking · Blood Glucose · Clinical Trials as Topic · Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 · Ethanol · Female · Humans · Insulin · Insulin Resistance · Male · Middle Aged · Young Adult · Food and Nutrition · Healthy Living · Life · MSB - Microbiology and Systems Biology · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


OBJECTIVE: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This reduced risk might be explained by improved insulin sensitivity or improved glycemic status, but results of intervention studies on this relation are inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies investigating the effect of alcohol consumption on insulin sensitivity and glycemic status. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: PubMed and Embase were searched up to August 2014. Intervention studies on the effect of alcohol consumption on biological markers of insulin sensitivity or glycemic status of at least 2 weeks' duration were included. Investigators extracted data on study characteristics, outcome measures, and methodological quality. RESULTS: Fourteen intervention studies were included in a meta-analysis of six glycemic end points. Alcohol consumption did not influence estimated insulin sensitivity (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.08 [-0.09 to 0.24]) or fasting glucose (SMD 0.07 [-0.11 to 0.24]) but reduced HbA1c (SMD -0.62 [-1.01 to -0.23]) and fasting insulin concentrations (SMD -0.19 [-0.35 to -0.02]) compared with the control condition. Alcohol consumption among women reduced fasting insulin (SMD -0.23 [-0.41 to -0.04]) and tended to improve insulin sensitivity (SMD 0.16 [-0.04 to 0.37]) but not among men. Results were similar after excluding studies with high alcohol dosages (>40 g/day) and were not influenced by dosage and duration of the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Although the studies had small sample sizes and were of short duration, the current evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may decrease fasting insulin and HbA1c concentrations among nondiabetic subjects. Alcohol consumption might improve insulin sensitivity among women but did not do so overall. © 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. Chemicals/CAS: alcohol, 64-17-5; insulin, 9004-10-8; Blood Glucose; Ethanol; Insulin