The heart benefits seen with light alcohol use may relate to its ability to reduce inflammation, new research suggests.

In a study of older adults, light alcohol use was tied to lower blood levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein–two inflammatory proteins that have been linked to heart disease, researchers report in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Several studies have identified protective heart effects with light alcohol use. The new findings provide a possible explanation for why such use is beneficial.

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