Australian researchershave found that it is alcohol ingeneral and not necessarily aningredient specific to beer orwine that causes an increasein blood pressure. Renate R.Zilkens, PhD, and colleaguesfrom the University of WesternAustralia School of Medicineand Pharmacology monitoredfor 4 weeks 24 healthy, nonsmokingmen aged 20 to 65with normal blood pressureand no history of heart disease.The men were randomlyassigned to 4 different drinkinggroups: 13 oz (half a bottle) ofred wine per day, 13 oz of nonalcoholicred wine, 37 oz (3cans) of beer per day, or noalcohol. Each man was monitoredfor blood pressure andblood vessel functioning, aswell as providing blood andurine samples.
The beer-drinking grouphad a systolic pressureincrease of 2.9 mm Hg, whilethe wine drinkers had a systolicpressure increase of 1.9mm Hg. The nonalcoholicwine group had no increase inblood pressure. Beer drinkersalso experienced an increasein sleeping heart rate of 5beats per minute, while winedrinkers experienced a 4.4-beats-per-minute increase.The researchers concludedthat alcohol itself raises bloodpressure, not specifically wineor beer. They noted, however,that these results apply to menwith normal blood pressure.