J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Aug;36(30):e195. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e195.

Association between Alcohol Consumption and Serum Cortisol Levels: a Mendelian Randomization Study

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Hwasun, Korea
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine & Institute of Wonkwang Medical Science, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Korea
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Chosun University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
  • 4Department of Preventive Medicine, Chungnam National University Medical School, Daejeon, Korea
  • 5Cardiocerebrovascular Center, Mokpo Jung-Ang Hospital, Mokpo, Korea
  • 6Gwangju-Jeonnam Regional Cardiocerebrovascular Center, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea

Abstract

Background
Several studies have reported conflicting results regarding the relationship between alcohol consumption and cortisol levels. However, the causality between alcohol consumption and cortisol levels has not been evaluated.
Methods
This study examined 8,922 participants from the Dong-gu Study. The aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) rs671 polymorphism was used as an instrumental variable for alcohol consumption. The association between the genetically predicted alcohol consumption and cortisol level was evaluated with Mendelian randomization (MR) using two-stage least squares regression.
Results
Alcohol consumption was positively associated with the serum cortisol level in both sexes in the observational analysis. In the MR analysis, the genetically predicted alcohol consumption was positively related to the cortisol level in men, with cortisol levels increasing by 0.18 µg/dL per drink per day. However, there was no relationship in women in the MR analysis.
Conclusion
The predicted alcohol consumption according to the ALDH2 rs671 polymorphism was positively related to the cortisol levels, suggesting a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and cortisol levels.

Keyword

Alcohol; Cortisol; Causality; Mendelian Randomization Analysis
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