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Dr K K Aggarwal

Turmeric can prevent heart failure

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Traditional Indian turmeric prevents heart failure, lowers cholesterol, prevents cancers and gall stones and augments scar formation in a wound. Studies from the University of Toronto’s Cardiology Division and published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation have shown that curcumin, an ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, when given orally to a variety of mouse models with enlarged hearts (hypertrophy), could prevent and reverse hypertrophy, prevent heart failure, restore heart function and reduce scar formation. In the studies, curcumin was given to rats, who then underwent surgery or received drugs designed to put them at risk of heart failure. The rats that received curcumin showed more resistance to heart failure and inflammation than comparison groups of rats that did not get curcumin. Curcumin treatment also reversed heart enlargement. Curcumin short–circuited the heart enlargement process, though it’s not clear how it did that. The healing properties of turmeric have been well–known. The herb has been used in traditional Indian medicine to reduce scar formation. For example, when there is a cut or a bruise, the home remedy is to reach for turmeric powder because it can help to heal without leaving a bad scar. Curcumin has come under the scientific spotlight in recent years, with studies investigating its potential benefits for reducing cholesterol levels, improving cardiovascular health and fighting cancer. As an herb, turmeric should to be taken 300 mg thrice–daily with meals. It has useful actions like antioxidant, anti–inflammatory, anti rheumatic; lowering cholesterol, anti cancer and prevention of gall stones. It is also found to be useful in situations like dysmenorrhea, dyspepsia, HIV, muscle soreness, peptic ulcer disease, scabies and uveitis. Curcuminoids, act as free radical scavengers. They also inhibit leukotrienes and synthesis of prostaglandins. The anti–inflammatory activity has been claimed to be comparable to NSAIDs (such as indomethacin). Curcuminoids lower blood lipid peroxides, decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL cholesterol. Turmeric has also been claimed to inhibit platelet aggregation.

Is time and place of death pre-defined?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Some gurus teach us that the time and place of death is predefined and some do not. I personally feel that it is life and respiration that are predefined and not the day and time of death.

The following example can help understand this. Water in a sponge will become empty when every drop of water comes out but it does not matter how much time it takes to come out. It is therefore possible to postpone or prolong the fulfillment of Prarabhdha Karma and postpone death.

As per the Karma theory, unless our Prarabdha Karmas (decided at the time of death and birth) are enjoyed and fulfilled, one cannot die. But once the Prarabhdha Karmas are fulfilled, death is inevitable.

Another unanswered question is ‘can Prarabdha karma be modified’? Fate or destiny may not change, which means one may not be able to prolong the quantity of life but can definitely change the quality of life. The quality of life can be changed by modifying Agami karmas (present Karmas).

Sanchit Karmas can be burnt with the file of knowledge about self. Prarabdha Karmas have to be experienced and Agami Karma can be neutralized by positive and negative Karmas to Zero in the present life.

The last few Prarabdha Karma experienced can thus be slowed down by the net positive result of their Agami karmas.

Shradhs in Hindu Mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Shradhs are observed by every family in Indian Hindu culture to seek forgiveness from the deceased person and our ancestors for their unfulfilled known or unknown desires.

Traditionally, people observe shradh either on the day of Amavasya every month or on the day of death anniversary of the deceased person or persons or during Shradh days observed in Chaturmas coinciding with the Hindi Tithi or the date on which the diseased person had died. Shradhs are observed till Mahashradh is observed which is usually at a place near Ganga in Gaya, Pushkar, Haridwar etc.

In mythology, mind is linked with ocean, river or water. Most Mahashradhs are held near sacred water as it requires the process of purification of the mind away from home so that one can relax and not only take a one holy bath but also take an internal bath of meditation and self-confession. Medically, Shradh is a type of an attachment disorder or guilt disorder where either you are attached to the thoughts of the diseased person which keep on disturbing in the day to day life and during dreams or you have a guilt that you have not been able to fulfill some of the desires of the diseased persons and that guilt keeps reminding you all the time in your day to day activity or in the dreams.

Shradh is a way or a reminder to you or your consciousness to fulfill and complete the incomplete jobs and finish up all the pending works. Sometimes doing this job may take time and that is the reason why Mahashradhs are done once or twice in a lifetime for a particular deceased person.

Whenever a good ritual or ceremony is held, we also seek blessings from our ancestors. For example, before marriage, it is a ritual to do pooja of ancestors and take blessings which only means that we want to get rid of in our mind the self confession and seek forgiveness from our ancestors that please don’t disturb our mind or in emotions at this juncture of our function and we are aware of the pending work which you asked us to do in future.

Typically, a Shradh ceremony involves self confession and pooja of black sesame seeds or consuming black sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds in Ayurveda are known for their quality of absorbing negative energies both external and internal. Once the pending job is over and in the mind of the family or the person all the assigned works are finished, then they usually go to one of the pilgrimages for Mahashradh which is like a Mahapind Daan. Remember people usually say – Ab to mera pind chhod do, which means please stop coming in my dreams and reminding me of my pending works.

Shradhs are also for unknown unfulfilled desires of our ancestors. When I say unknown desires, it means the desires which are unknown to the present family but maybe were known to the past family. This can only be understood by computer module where my soul is my internet server and spirit has the God as cloud internet. Both my internal server and cloud servers will have a social networking page of mine and will also have my page even if my physical body dies. Similarly, all the social pages of my ancestors will be present in the cloud internet. So, unfulfilled desires will always be posted there. People of my family or those who know me can get connected to that page and know that there were some unfulfilled desires which are yet to be fulfilled by my family and that keeps coming to us in the form of message from our friends that you are suffering due to unfulfilled desires which they might have read from that particular page and that is the reason why there is always a forgiveness seeking exercise during Shradh for those known and unknown unfulfilled desires of our ancestors.

Smoking makes you 5 years older

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Men have a greater chance of dying then women, and smoking increases risk of death for adults just as if five years were suddenly added to their age.

  • For men who have never smoked, heart disease presents their greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the odds of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.
  • Male smokers face a lung cancer risk that is greater than the odds of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and is tenfold higher than the chance of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • The chances of dying from heart disease and breast cancer are similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.
  • For female smokers, dying from lung cancer or heart disease is more likely than dying from breast cancer after age 40.

Is it necessary to take a dip in Ganga to remove your sins?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati, the sangam of the three rivers in Allahabad is believed to be the holiest place in the country where if one takes a dip, one washes away his or her past sins.

After death, ashes are also submerged in the Ganga with an assumption that the past sins will be removed.

In Vedic era, what was the intention of the rishis and munis while making this ritual?

In mythology, moon represents cool mind and Ganga represents the positive flow of thoughts. And sea turmoil indicates the disturbed state of mind.

Hanuman’s samudra yatra indicates the meditative journey through the flow of thoughts. Samudra manthan represents the journey of the mind during meditation.

Taking a dip can be equated to shifting your mind towards your consciousness. This may occur when you introspect in a relaxed state of mind or when you practice meditation. Meditation is defined as a journey from sympathetic and parasympathetic state of mind or a journey from disturbed state of consciousness to undisturbed state of consciousness.

Every time you meditate, you dip into your consciousness and clean your guilt and negative thoughts. It is something like reformatting your hard disk and removing the bad sectors and viruses in your software.

It is, therefore, possible for you to do Ganga snan (bath) at your house in the morning while meditating or during pooja by drifting away from disturbed state of mind to non disturbed relaxed state of mind clearing your guilt and negative thoughts.

First Aid in Burns

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Patients with severe thermal burns are at significant risk of death and major morbidity.
  • Look for evidence of respiratory distress and smoke inhalation injury, a common cause of death in the acute burn victim.
  • Laryngeal edema can develop suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • Burn depth and size determine fluid resuscitation and the need for transfer.
  • Vascular collapse from burn shock is a critical component.
  • Rapid, aggressive fluid resuscitation to reconstitute intravascular volume and maintain end–organ perfusion is crucial.
  • The fluid requirement during the initial 24 hours of treatment is 4 mL/kg of body weight for each percent of TBSA burned, given IV. Superficial burns are excluded from this calculation. One–half of the calculated fluid need is given in the first eight hours, and the remaining half is given over the subsequent 16 hours.
  • Monitor urine output is important
  • Hourly urine output should be maintained at 0.5 mL/kg in adults.
  • Carbon monoxide and cyanide – Burn patients may be exposed to carbon monoxide, requiring immediate treatment with high–flow oxygen.
  • Cool and clean wounds, but avoid inducing hypothermia.
  • Remove any jewelry and any hot or burned clothing and obvious debris not densely adherent to the skin.
  • Irrigation with cool water may be used.
  • Topical antibiotics are applied to all non superficial burns.
  • Give opioids (morphine) to treat pain and give tetanus prophylaxis.

Direct all your energy towards the soul and not the ego

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The epic Mahabharata can also be understood as a science of inner Mahabharata happening in everybody’s mind.

Lord Krishna symbolizes the consciousness and the five Pandavas, the five positive qualities of a person namely, righteousness (Yudhishthir), focus (Arjuna), power to fight injustice (Bheem), helping others (Sahdev) and learning to be neutral in difficult situations (Nakul). Panchali indicates the five senses, which can only be controlled when these five forces are together.

Dhritarashtra symbolizes ignorance, Duhshasan negative ruling quality (dusht while ruling) and Duryodhana (dusht in yudh) one who is not balanced in war.

Conscious-based decisions need to be taken to kill the negativity in the mind. Every action, if directed towards the consciousness or the soul, is the right action. To kill all the 100 Kauravas (the 100 negative tendencies a person can have) controlled by Duryodhan and Duhshasan along with Shakuni (the negative power of cunningness), positive qualities have to be redirected towards consciousness and then take right decisions.

The five Pandavas (positive qualities) made soul (Lord Krishna) as their point of reference (Sarthi) and won over the evils (Kauravas).

Bhishma Pitamah, Karna and Dronacharya, individually all had winning powers; but, they all supported negative thoughts and made Duryodhana as their point of reference and ultimately had to die.

The message is very clear, if one directs his or her positive powers towards ego as the reference point in long run, they will be of no use and, in fact, will be responsible for one’s destruction.

Ravana too was a great scholar but he directed all his energies and powers towards his ego and ended up in misery.

Therefore, one should cultivate a positive mental attitude, positive thoughts instead of directing them towards desire, attachment or ego and should direct them to soul/consciousness for a positive outcome.

Treatment of Fatty Liver

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • A 10% weight loss can improve fatty liver and possibly inflammation.
  • Metformin and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) are not recommended.
  • Statins are safe in patients with fatty liver but whether they can reduce fatty liver is not known.
  • Omega–3 fatty acids have been tried
  • Pioglitazone is useful in the treatment of biopsy–proven fatty liver with inflammation
  • Vitamin E at a dose of 800 IU/day improves liver inflammation
  • Use of bariatric surgery for treatment of fatty liver is premature and should be avoided in patients with cirrhosis.

Think positive and think different

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Mantra to acquire spiritual health is to think positive and differently. Positive thinking produces positive hormones and takes you from sympathetic mode to parasympathetic mode. When you think different, it gives you several opportunities and from multiple options available, you can ask your heart to choose one of them.

Thinking positive was a message given by Lord Buddha and thinking different by Adi Shankaracharya.

The candle light march, which was held to fight for justice in the Jessica Lal murder case, has been picked up by most of the protest campaigns because it was positive and different.

I have seen three examples in my life where I used this and prolonged the life of those persons.

My grandfather–in–law at the age of 85 thought it was time to go but when we made him work positively and differently, he died at the age of 100 years. He was asked to teach youngsters law, write daily to the Prime Minister on certain issues and find matrimonial matches for the youngest persons in the family.

In other two cases, one was suffering from terminal prostate cancer and the other had terminal brain cancer. The first one lived for 10 years and the other is still alive. Both were told that they had a very early cancer and that was cured by a surgery.

When you think different, it creates creativity and when it is with positive attitude, it is accepted by all.

The Buddhist Description of a Disease: Desire, Hatred and Ignorance

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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According to the Buddhism, three negative emotions cause a disease and they are “ignorance, hatred and desire”. According to the Buddhism philosophy, physical sicknesses are classified into three main types.

  • Disorders of the desire (Ayurvedic equivalent Vata Imbalance): These are due todisharmony of the wind or energy. The seed of these disorders are located in the lower part of the body. It has cold preferences and are affected by mental desires. A person suffers from the disorders of movement functions.
  • Disorders of the hatred (Ayurveda equivalent Pitta imbalance): It is due to disharmony of the bile. The seed of these disorders is centered in the middle and upper part of the body and is caused by the mental emotion hatred. In Ayurveda text, it is equivalent to “Pitta” disorder. The person suffers from metabolic and digestive abnormalities.
  • Disorders of the ignorance (Ayurveda equivalent Kapha imbalance): It is due to the disharmony of phlegm, which is generally centered in the chest or in the head and is cold in nature. It is caused by the mental emotion ignorance.

Desire, hatred and ignorance are the main negativities mentioned in Buddha philosophy. They are all produced in the mind. Once produced, they behave like a slow poison. The Udanavarga once said, “From iron appears rust, and rust eats the iron”, “Likewise, the careless actions (karma) that we perform, lead us to hellish lives.

According to the other scriptures, six afflictions are most troublesome, ignorance, hatred, desire, miserliness, jealousy and arrogance. Patience is the most potent virtue a person can acquire. According to the Shanti Deva, “There is no evil like hatred, and there is no marriage like patience. Therefore, dedicate your life to the practice of patience.”

Bhagvad Gita mentions the enemies as Kama, Krodha, Lobh, Moh and Ahankar and out of these, Kama Lobh and Ahankar as the three gateways to hell.

Vitamin D intake associated with reduced risk for Crohn’s disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Increased intake of vitamin D may significantly reduce the risk for Crohn’s disease (CD) in women, according to an article published in the journal Gastroenterology. This study involved 72,719 women who returned the 1986 questionnaire. They had data on both vitamin D intake and physical activity and did not have a history of CD or UC. Diagnosis of CD was based on a typical history of 4 weeks or longer and was confirmed by radiologic, endoscopic, or surgical evaluation. The diagnosis of ulcerative colitis (UC) was based on typical clinical presentation of 4 weeks or more and endoscopic, radiologic, or surgical evaluation. Mean age of the participants at baseline was 53 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 25.4 kg/m2, mean physical activity was 13.2 metabolic hours per week, 94.5% were white and 36.6% never smoked.

A documented 122 cases of CD and 123 cases of UC were recorded during 1,492,811 person–years of follow–up. The median predicted 25(OH) D level was 27.6 ng/mL. Women in the lowest quartile of predicted 25(OH)D level compared with those in the highest quartile had a higher body mass index, were less active, tended to reside in the Northern or Midwestern regions of the United States, and had lower intake levels of dietary or supplemental vitamin D. The median age of diagnosis of CD was 64.0 years; for UC, it was 63.5 years. The median interval between assessment of plasma 25(OH) D levels and disease diagnosis was 12 years for UC and 10 years for CD.

For every 1 ng/mL increase in predicted 25(OH) D level, the risk for CD was reduced by 6%. For UC, there was also a reduction in risk, but it was non–significant at 4%. Women in the highest two quartiles of 25(OH)D levels had multivariate HRs of 0.50 and 0.55, respectively, for CD. Each 100 IU/day increase in total intake resulted in a 10% reduction in UC risk and a 7% reduction in CD risk. For vitamin D intake from diet and supplements based on quartile distribution, there was a significant linear inverse trend for vitamin D intake and UC risk, but this trend was weaker for CD. Intakes of 800 IU/day or higher led to greater reductions in the risks for UC and CD. Vitamin D intake was inversely associated with the risks for CD and UC, vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency was an important mediator in the pathogenesis of UC and CD, and assessment of vitamin D status should be a part of the assessment of inflammatory bowel diseases.

What is the importance of life force?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A physical body becomes useless once the life force is gone. The same body, which was lovable to everyone, becomes a liability after death. Everyone wants to dispose it as early as possible as keeping a dead body at home is considered a bad omen.

During the transfer of dead body from one place to another, nobody wants to keep the body in a vehicle other than a hearse van, meant to transport dead bodies. No family would be willing to carry the dead body of a person in a car in which the deceased person had been traveling or driving for years.

Once you touch a dead body you are required to take a bath, for any reason, health or ritual, before you commence your daily routine.

Within a matter of hours in absence of life force, the physical body starts disintegrating and in a matter of days, it shows signs of self-destruction and putrefaction.

This vital force is nothing but the soul, atma, brahma, spirit or consciousness described in different Vedic texts.

Adi Shankaracharya in his book Bhaja Govindam shloka 6 says:

Yávat-pavano nivasati dehe
Távat-pøcchati kuùalam gehe,
Gatavati váyau dehápáye
Bháryá bibhyati tasmin káye.(6)

“Till the life force remains in the body, people come and enquire about your welfare. But, the moment the life force goes out, even your wife is afraid of coming anywhere near your body”.

Life force can be equated to the network of information in computer, radio, television or mobile phone. All these gadgets without data are useless and are thrown away. This silent data retrievable by operational and application software represent the life force or soul of these electronic gadgets.

Just as one does not give importance to a computer without data, one should not give importance to the physical body. It is the life force within the body which is respected and cared for and that is what real “I” or “We” are. All glories of the body are only until the life force remains in it. In Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna in Chapter 2 (2.23) says about this life force or ataman “fire cannot burn it, weapon cannot cut it, water cannot wet it, air cannot dry it, it is immortal”.

The life force has no dimensions: height, weight, color or image. It is immortal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. The weight of a live and a dead body immediately after the death is the same.

It is the same life force, which dwells in everybody and during life is modified by actions, memory and desire cycle. If one gets attached to any of the three, then one starts getting detached from the soul or the life force. People who are in touch with their life force all the time attain peace and happiness and die young in old age.

Most Vedic mahavakyas talk about, that it is the same spirit, which dwells in everybody and hence every person in the society should be welcomed and treated with equal importance. Aham brahmasami, tatwam asi, vasudeva kutumbakam, etc. are a few of the examples.

According to Adi Shankaracharya, one can achieve non-duality only by seeing God in everyone. Athithi-devo-bhava is also based on the same principle.

Cinnamon in diabetes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A meta–analysis of 10 studies in patients with type 2 diabetes, published in the Annals of Family Medicine taking cinnamon supplements improved fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels, but not HbA1c levels.

Small doses of a cinnamon supplement could be used along with traditional diabetes medication, Cinnamomum cassia, either as natural supplement powder or capsule, was the most common form of cinnamon that was studied in the trials, and 1 tsp of cinnamon is approximately 3 g. Cinnamon effect is attributed to its active component cinnamaldehyde.

The advantages of cinnamon are its cost, tolerability, and relatively safe profile. Long–term administration of high–dose cinnamon may possibly be unsafe due to the coumarin content of cinnamon, which has been associated with liver damage in animal studies

Ganesha, the Stress Management Guru

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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If Lord Krishna was the first counselor who taught the principles of counseling, Lord Ganesha taught us the principles of stress management.

We should worship Lord Ganesha and become like him whenever we face any difficulty or are stressed out.

The elephant head of Lord Ganesha symbolizes that when in difficulty, use your wisdom, intelligence and think differently. It can be equated to the Third Eye of Lord Shiva. Elephant is supposed to be the most intelligent animal in the kingdom. Here, wisdom means to think before speaking. Lord Buddha also said that don’t speak unless it is necessary and is truthful and kind.

The big elephant ears of Lord Ganesha signify listening to everybody when in difficulty. Elephant ears are known to hear long distances. Elephant eyes see a long distance and in terms of mythology, it denotes acquiring the quality of foreseeing when in difficulty. The mouth of Lord Ganesha represents speaking less and hearing and listening more.

The big tummy of Lord Ganesha represents digesting any information gathered by listening to people when in difficulty. The trunk denotes using the power of discrimination to decide from the retained information. It also indicates doing both smaller and bigger things by yourself. The elephant trunk can pick up a needle as well as a tree.

The teeth, broken and unbroken, signify to be in a state of balance in loss and gain. This implies that one should not get upset if the task is not accomplished and also not get excited if the task is accomplished. In times of difficulty, Ganesha also teaches us not to lose strength and control one’s attachments, desires and greed.

The four arms of Lord Ganesha represent strength. Ropes in two hands indicate attachment; Laddoo or Sweet in one hand represents desires and mouse represents greed. Riding over the mouse indicates controlling one’s greed.

Lord Ganesha is worshipped either when a new work is started or when one finds it difficult to complete a job or work. In these two situations, these principles of Lord Ganesha need to be inculcated in one’s habits.

Don’t start if you do not drink; if you cannot stop, limit your intake

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • The definition of a standard drink differs in countries: US = 14–15 gm alcohol equivalent to 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine and 1.5 oz 80 proof liquor; UK 8 gm alcohol, Japan 19.75 gm alcohol and India 10 gm alcohol
  • A standard drink usually means a US drink.
  • Alcohol contents: Beer 5%; Malt liquor 7%; Table wine 12%; Fortified wine (sherry, port) 17%; Cordial liquor (aperitif) 24%; Brandy (single jigger) 40% and 80 proof gin, Vodka, whisky 40%
  • 10 ml of alcohol (hard liquor) = 0.8 gm of alcohol; 1 oz = 30 ml; 12 oz of beer = 360 ml of beer (360×5% = 18 ml of alcohol = 14.4 gm of alcohol); 18 oz of beer = 8 to 9 oz of malt liquor = 5 oz of table wine = 3–4 oz of 45 wine = 2–3 oz of cordial liquor=1.5 oz of brandy=1.5 oz hard liquor
  • Binge drinking means 4 or more drinks at one time (women) or 5 or more at one time (men)
  • Heavy drinking means more than 7 drinks per week or 3 drinks per occasion (women) or more than 14 drinks per week or 4 drinks per occasion (men).
  • Moderate drinking means less than 2 drinks per day (women) and less than 3 drinks per day (men) and for people aged more than 65, less than two drinks per day
  • Safe limits: No level of alcohol compensation can be 100% safe for some people.
  • Contraindications: Pregnancy, present or strong family history of alcoholism, previous paralysis because of brain hemorrhage, liver disease, pancreas disease, running potentially dangerous equipment or machinery
  • Limit alcohol in acute gastritis, esophagitis, strong family history of breast cancer and pre cancerous GI lesions.
  • Ideal dose of alcohol = 6 gm per day
  • 10–15gm of ethanol is found in one glass of wine, one can or bottle of beer or one mixed drink.
  • One should not take more than two drinks (men) and one drink daily (women).
  • Men under the age of 45 may experience more harm than benefit from alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol benefits for the heart are only in 45+ people.