It was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet on an open-access basis so is free to read online.
"The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions", said Angela Wood, the lead author of the study.
"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target and try to drink well below this threshold".
The researchers calculated life would be shortened by an average of 1.3 years for women and 1.6 years for men for people aged 40 who drank above the United Kingdom weekly limit in comparison with those drinking below the limit.
Drinking more than one alcoholic beverage a day can take years off your life, a new global study says.
This research recalibrates the concept of moderate drinking and gives a more complicated, nuanced interpretation of how alcohol affects cardiovascular health for better or worse.
The authors of the study said their findings also challenged the widely held belief that moderate drinking is beneficial to cardiovascular health, and support the UK's recently lowered guidelines.
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The study doesn't take into account the possibility of accompanying mental disorders, such as dementia, which could explain why people reduced their alcohol consumption over the follow-up period.
Alcohol consumption was found to be associated with a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks but researchers point out that this must be weighed against increased risk of potentially fatal heart disease. It considered about 600,000 people who drank alcohol. The US-government funded trial is "testing this amount [of alcohol] that appears to increase death", he says.
Therefore, the researchers remind, and warn that drinking alcohol can benefit the body, as many believe. Any more than that and there's a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular problems, including stroke, aortic aneurysm, fatal hypertensive disease, and heart failure.
In numerous individual studies included in the meta-analysis, the participants were asked only once about how much alcohol they drank - and people are notoriously bad at accurately reporting their drinking.
Another strength of this study is that it involved a large number of people who didn't have pre-existing heart and circulatory diseases, so it's likely to be relevant to the wider population.
"Nationally, consumption has been in decline for the last decade and most importantly harmful drinking and binge drinking are also in decline".
The work of British scientists confirmed the previous study according to which the safe dose of alcohol for men and women - 112 grams of alcohol per week.