June 16/Amsterdam/Medical News -- Light to moderate alcohol consumption (half a glass of wine a day) lowers the risk of heart-related death, but it is not clear whether this protective effect depends on the specific type of alcoholic beverage.

In addition, not much is known about the effects of long-term alcohol intake on life expectancy. According to a study, drinking up to half a glass of wine a day may increase longevity by five  years in men.

Researchers from the Netherlands studied 1,373 men to determine the effect of long-term alcohol intake and type of alcoholic beverage consumed on cardiovascular death and life expectancy at age 50. They found that, compared with no alcohol consumption, long-term light alcohol intake averaging less than half a glass daily lowered the risk of death from heart-related causes and all causes and also increased life expectancy by five years.

The researchers caution that more studies are needed to verify the strength of the association between wine intake and the risk of death.