January 9, 2008

Heart Disease - Red Wine Reduces Risk

Red wine reduces the risk of heart diseaseHeart Disease - Red Wine Reduces Risk: Red wine contains a rich source of a large number of antioxidants, namely the phenolic acids and polyphenols, which provide it with its protective oxidation reduction potential thereby reducing heart disease risk..

Epidemiological (population) studies have shown that despite the high intake of saturated fatty acids within the diets of some populations, a reduced mortality rate from cardiovascular (heart) disease is attributed to the high consumption of red wine, independent of its alcohol content, the 'French Paradox'. (Lancet 1992, ):1523-6).

Studies also indicate that sub-populations already at a high risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (i.e. elderly) may potentially experience a greater beneficial effect from moderate wine consumption. (J Intern Med 2001, 250(4):291-308).

Moderate consumption of red wine has also been shown to retard or slow the blood clearance of high density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol), a positive factor in lowering the risk of development of cardiovascular disease. It is also indicated that red wine inhibits LDL cholesterol oxidation more efficiently than white wine and at much lower concentrations. (J Am Coll Nutr 1999, 18(2):137-43).

Australian researchers from the University of Newcastle, Victoria University and Deakin University carried out a study with 40 volunteers to measure the effects of moderate red wine consumption on antioxidant status and oxidative stress in the circulation. Oxidative stress is the consequence of an imbalance of oxidants and antioxidants.

Twenty young (18-30 yrs) and 20 older (greater or equal to 50 yrs) volunteers were recruited. Each age group was randomly divided into treatment subjects who consumed 400 mL/day of red wine for two weeks, or control subjects who abstained from alcohol for two weeks, after which they crossed over into the other group. Blood samples were collected before and after red wine consumption and were used for analysis of blood total antioxidant status.

In the current study total antioxidant status in the blood increased after red wine consumption.

These results strongly suggest that in the presence of red wine consumption, total antioxidant status has the ability to increase significantly.

This increase was slightly more prominent in older individuals who increased their total antioxidant status 16% after consuming the red wine for two weeks compared to the younger individuals who increased 7%, despite the fact that young individuals had higher resting concentrations of total antioxidant status.

Our results are also shared in a study by Fernandez-Pachon and colleagues, who eluded that antioxidant values determined before wine intake were statistically different from those measured 30 minutes after consumption. (J Agric Food Chem 2005, 53(12):5024-9).

Our study however, extends beyond Fernandez-Pachon's by advocating that the consistent consumption of wine may offer the ability to significantly enhance total antioxidant status over a longer period.

This sustained elevation of total antioxidant status further confirms that the lower incidence of cardiovascular disease in populations who consume red wine on a regular basis is due to an increase in circulating oxidative protection.

In addition it also suggests that a lifetime of red wine consumption is not needed to achieve a sustained increase in circulating oxidative protection, two weeks is long enough to boost total antioxidant status.

Derived and adapted from: Michelle Micallef, Louise Lexis and Paul Lewandowski. Red wine consumption increases antioxidant status and decreases oxidative stress in the circulation of both young and old humans. Nutrition Journal 2007, 6:27doi:10.1186/.
© 2007 Micallef et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (

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