It seems like a new “alcohol is good for you” study comes out every other month, but we never tire of hearing it. This time, new research from the University of São Paulo in Brazil has pinned down the enzyme responsible for making moderate alcohol consumption heart-healthy.
According to the study, conducted at the University of São Paulo’s Biomedical Science Institute in partnership with scientists at Stanford University in the U.S., alcohol, when consumed moderately—in this case, the equivalent of two cans of beer or two glasses of wine for an average man—activates an enzyme (ALDH2) that helps rid the body of an aldehyde, which is a toxic byproduct of alcohol digestion. This aldehyde is also a byproduct of stressed heart cells, such as during a heart attack.
Previously, research has shown that people benefit from moderate alcohol consumption, but the reason has been poorly understood, explains ScienceDaily. Now, this discovery points at exactly how a small amount of alcohol helps the heart protect itself.