Alcohol consumption and subclinical atherosclerosis among South Asians: Findings from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study

Parag A. Chevli*, Amer I. Aladin, Alka M. Kanaya, Namratha R. Kandula, Diego Malaver, David M. Herrington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: South Asians are the second fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, and they have a high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with lower CVD risk in some race/ethnic groups, but the association of alcohol consumption and atherosclerosis in South Asians has not been investigated. Methods and Results: We used data from 906 South Asian participants who participated in the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) cohort (2010–2012). Alcohol consumption was ascertained via questionnaire, coronary artery calcium (CAC) was measured with computed tomography, and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) was measured using B-mode ultrasonography. We used multivariable regression models to examine cross-sectional associations of alcohol consumption with the presence and amount of CAC and cIMT. Compared with never drinkers, participants consuming 4–7 drinks/week had a 63% decreased odds of any CAC after adjusting for potential confounders and mediators. Participants consuming 4–7 drinks/week had significantly lower odds of CAC score between 1 and 300 [OR (95% CI): 0.34 (0.16–0.72)]. A similar inverse association was seen for the odds of CAC>300 [OR (95% CI): 0.28 (0.07–0.97)]. Alcohol consumption of >7 drinks/week was associated with a 0.096 mm increase in common-cIMT. Conclusion: There was an inverse association between the amount of alcohol intake and CAC among South Asians while a positive association was found between alcohol consumption and common-cIMT. Long-term follow-up of the MASALA cohort will examine prospective associations of alcohol intake with the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis, incident CVD events, and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2020



  • Alcohol
  • Coronary artery calcium
  • South Asian
  • Subclinical atherosclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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