Wine and Your Health
"Wine gives strength, pleasure and joy in living.
Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried with fewer
tensions and more tolerance"
Is Wine a Healthy Drink
Wine can contain over 1000 different chemical constituents, making it a very
complex solution, generally consisting of 85-90% water, 10-14% alcohol and
1-5% phenolics. Over time wine became known as a medicinal drink. (1). It was
a more hygienic drink than the water of the day. It was not until modern times
that full scale studies were done to answer the question of why people living
in France, Portugal and Italy did not have the same mortality rate as the
US, Canada and Scandinavian Countries. Many researchers concluded that it
was due to wine consumption in France, Portugal and Italy that causes vascular
disease to be comparatively rare.
Alcohol helps the blood flow more easily around the body, and regular intake
of wine reduces the level of harmful cholesterol.(1) Now alcohol is only a
small part of the story, scientific studies have shown not all alcoholic drinks
have the same positive effect. Please remember that more is not better for
you, too much alcohol can be harmful; you should drink with a responsible attitude.
What Makes Wine So Beneficial
It is the phenolics found in the grape. A phenolic compound in wine can be defined as one that is
derived naturally from plant or microbial origin, consisting of a phenyl ring backbone with many
substitutive possibilities. Some phenolics like coumaric, caffeic, ferulic and vanillic acids are
relatively simple while others are more complex polymeric structures such as the tannins, which contribute
strongly to the mouth feel, quality and palatability of red wines. Phenolic compounds are commonly found
in animal, plant and microbial tissues and contribute to defensive strategies as many are involved in plant
protection as biologically active growth inhibitors of other living systems. In addition, they contribute
to color and flavor of food items including wine. Since many have strong antioxidant activities, they also
play important beneficial roles in mammalian systems. Red wine consumption has been clearly linked to reduced
incidence of atherosclerosis and heart disease in humans, most likely due to the presence of numerous bioactive
phenolic compounds in red wine products.
These compounds have a protective effect on the capillaries and on the collagen in the walls of the
blood vessels. They hinder the aggregation of platelets and thus prevents the formation of clots. Phenolics
also have powerful antioxidant properties, which inhibit degradation of the cell walls both in coronary
arteries and in the brain. There is also the thought that wine may be beneficial in the treatment of cancer
and Alzheimer's Disease.(1) The majority of Phenolics in the grape are found in the seed and skin. The skin
of the grape plays a greater role in the production of red wine than white wine.
A Little is Good For You
People of southern Europe eat far more fruits and vegetables and less red meats than North Americans,
their overall diet is healthier than ours. Enjoying your wine in moderation and with a responsible
attitude can contribute to a long and healthy life. A little goes a long way.
While heart disease reduction and other health-related findings are applicable to all beverages containing
alcohol, some research has found advantages specifically for wine drinkers. In a landmark Danish study published
in 1995, researchers for the Copenhagen City Heart Study found wine drinkers to have clear health advantages over
nondrinkers or moderate drinkers of other beverages. "Our finding, that only wine drinking clearly reduces
both the risk of dying from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and the risk of dying from other
causes," wrote Morten Gronbaek and colleagues in the British Medical Journal, "suggest that other
more broadly acting factors in wine may be present."
Dr Jean-Paul Brouster of France says cabernet sauvignon is the healthiest. He refers to the cabernet
sauvignon of Bordeaux as containing the highest concentration of resveratrol and quercitin which are beneficial
to the heart.
"The compound (?) in red wine that keeps your blood platlettes 'slippery'
and keeps those old arteries
from clogging up, is found to be most prominent in Pinot Noir. Not only in
Pinot Noir, BUT Ontario Pinot Noir!" Linda Bramble
Findings published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, contributes
to the growing body of research that suggests moderate red wine consumption
may help prevent a number of diseases, including age-related dementias,
heart disease, and cancer. The researchers, led by neurobiologists Philippe
Marambaud and Peter Davies, say their study also identifies a previously
unknown chemical pathway that may one day be tapped to design new drugs to
fight Alzheimer's Disease
Canadian red wines may actually be naturally healthful. According to wine writer Natalie MacLean, cool-climate wines contain slightly higher levels of resveratrol, an antioxidant believed to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
May I suggest that now is a good time to take a trip to your local wine store and purchase a fine bottle
of Canadian wine. A glass or two with dinner could improve your health, it may even prolong your life.
"I have enjoyed great health at a great age because everyday since I can
remember I have consumed a bottle of wine except when I have not felt well.
Then I have consumed two bottles." -A Bishop of Seville
"In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and
also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was
not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as
eating and to me as necessary." -Ernest Hemingway, "A Moveable Feast"
scientists say that resveratrol, the compound found in red wine, could help improve senior mobility and prevent falls, according to new research presented to the American Chemical Society on Sunday.
In the study, researchers fed young and old lab mice a resveratrol-rich diet for eight weeks. During that period, the mice's mobility was tested by charting their ability to cross a balance beam, with researchers noting how many times a mouse would fall.
At first, the older mice had much more difficulty than their younger peers. But when week four rolled around, the senior mice stayed on the beam more often, and their performance was close to that of the young mice.
"Our study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies that are seen in our aging population," said research leader Jane Cavanaugh, Ph.D., in a press release. "And that would, therefore, increase an aging person's quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalization due to slips and falls."
Research released earlier this year suggests that red wine can lead to a longer life . Red wine and resveratrol have also been linked to good heart health and to inhibiting the spread of a number of human cancer lines , such as breast, thyroid, prostate, colon and stomach cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State, which studies micronturients
Red Wine Halves Prostate Cancer
Research by Janet L. Stanford at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre states “We found that men who consumed four or more glasses of red wine per week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent. Among men who consumed four or more 4 ounce glasses of red wine per week, we saw about a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer. The more clinically aggressive prostate cancer is where the strongest reduction in risk was observed," Stanford said.
In the last few years, thousands of researches on red wine showed that moderate
intake of this drink improves cardiovascular health. The cardio protective
effect has been attributed to antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of
Based on the research experts advise that the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of
coronary heart disease in three ways: by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (the "bad"
cholesterol), by boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and by reducing
Furthermore researchers have found that moderate red wine consumption may be beneficial to more than just
your heart. One study found that the antioxidant resveratrol, may inhibit tumor development in some cancers.
Another study indicated that resveratrol aided in the formation of nerve cells, which experts believe may
be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
The most recent studies on red wine presented at the American Association for Dental Research (AADR)
annual meeting, in Orlando, Florida by the show that red wine polyphenols may help fight gum disease. V. Houde,
M. Boisvert and their colleagues from University
Laval in Canada investigated the role of polyphenols. Including those from red wine, in scavenging free
radicals released by immune cells stimulated with components of bacteria causing periodontal diseases. Free
radicals are believed to be at least partly responsible for the development of gum disease and are generated by immune cells during periodontitis. In order to have healthy gums it is important to that free radicals are maintained at low levels. Their results indicated that red wine polyphenols significantly modulate several inflammatory components released by macrophages (a population of host immune cells) in response to bacterial stimuli.
There are also studies that show that wine drinkers have the lowest incidence
of colon cancer, only 1% as against eighteen percent of beer drinkers and
twelve percent in non-drinkers.
CTV.ca News Staff
An ingredient found in some red wines may help extend the human
life span, a new study says. The study, which was published in Plos One, an online
science journal,dosed mice with a low dose of resveratrol, which is found in
the skins of some grapes, and said that the ingredient "may retard some
aspects of aging."
Similar studies on the ingredient have been performed in the past with mice, including one study that
turned regular mice into atheletic super-mice, by introducing resveratrol. However, scientists were using
doses that far exceeded the miniscule amount found in a typical glass of red wine. Some scientists have
estimated that a person would have to drink 100 bottles a day to translate the results from mice to humans
-- which may prove difficult for your average wine connoisseur.
A number of pharmaceutical companies are already researching the ingredient, hoping to
have a capsule available for human consumption in the near future. “I used to think it was probably a
hundred years in the future that we'd see these anti-aging drugs come around,"Dr. David Sinclair,
a Harvard professor said. "But now I'm optimistic that we'll see these possibly in the next few years.
Analysts say that the first company to get the drug on the market could be in for windfall profits.
An ingredient found in some red wines may help extend the human
life span, a new study says. The study, which was published in Plos One , an online science journal, dosed
mice with a low dose of resveratrol, which is found in the skins of some grapes,
and said that the ingredient "may retard some
aspects of aging."
Similar studies on the ingredient have been performed in the
past with mice, including one study that turned regular mice into atheletic
super-mice, by introducing resveratrol.
However, scientists were using doses that far exceeded the miniscule amount found in a typical
glass of red wine. Some scientists have estimated that a person would have to drink 100 bottles a day to
translate the results from mice to humans -- which may prove difficult for your average wine connoisseur.
A number of pharmaceutical companies are already researching
the ingredient, hoping to have a capsule available for human consumption in
the near future. Analysts say that the first company to get the drug on the
market could be in for windfall profits.
WASHINGTON - A natural compound found in red wine may protect the heart against the effects of the aging process, researchers said on Tuesday.
In their study, mice were given a diet supplemented with the compound known as resveratrol starting at their equivalent of middle age until old age. These mice experienced changes in their gene activity related to aging in a way very similar to mice that were placed on a so-called calorie restriction diet that slows the aging process by greatly cutting dietary energy intake.
Most striking was how the resveratrol, like calorie restriction, blocked the decline in heart function typically associated with aging, according to Tomas Prolla, a University of Wisconsin professor of genetics who helped lead the study.
Scientists Seek Fountain of
Much as Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon once searched for the mythical fountain
of youth, researchers now are seeking ways to extend the quality and length
of human life. In some studies, animals given a diet with greatly reduced caloric
intake have lived longer than animals with normal diets. But perpetual hunger
is a steep price to pay for greater longevity, some researchers say.
Resveratrol, found in abundance in grapes and in red wine, has drawn a lot
of interest from scientists and some companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, which in April
said it would pay $720 million to buy Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc, a company that is
developing drugs that mimic the effects of resveratrol.
Some studies have shown that in high doses, resveratrol
extended the life span of fruit flies and worms and prevented early
death in mice fed a high-fat diet. In this study, mice were given
relatively low doses compared to the earlier research, and still
experienced important aging-related benefits, the researchers said.
The researchers began giving the resveratrol diet to the mice when they were 14 months
old — their middle age — and followed the animals until they were about 30 months old. The researchers
then conducted tests on cardiac function and on gene activity related to aging.
“Resveratrol at low doses can retard some aspects of the aging process, including heart
aging, and it may do so by mimicking some of the effects of caloric restriction, which is known to retard
aging in several tissues and extend life span,” added Prolla, whose study was published in the scientific
journal PLoS ONE.
Using a method that permits simultaneous analysis of thousands of genes at the same time,
the researchers found a huge overlap in the genes whose activity were changed by resveratrol and caloric
They looked at the heart, brain and muscles, and said that the effect of resveratrol was
strongest in the heart but did prevent some aging-related changes in the other tissues.
Red Wine and Breast Cancer
Red wine may have some effect in inhibiting the hormone that causes breast cancer, a study has found.
The study at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered oestrogen levels among premenopausal women.
The same effect was not seen in white wine.
The study, published online in the Journal of Women's Health , challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer.
Alcohol is known to increase levels of oestrogen, which fosters the growth of cancer cells.
However, the research at Cedars-Sinai suggests red wine acts differently, appearing to block the process that converts hormones such as testosterone - which is present in women's bodies - into oestrogen.
In the study, 36 women drank either Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay daily for almost a month, then switched to the other type of wine. Blood was collected twice each month to measure hormone levels.
Researchers were trying to determine whether red wine mimics the effects of aromatase inhibitors, which play a key role in managing oestrogen levels and are currently used to treat breast cancer.
Investigators said the change in hormone patterns suggested that red wine may stem the growth of cancer cells, as has been shown in test tube studies.
They stressed that the results do not mean that white wine increases the risk of breast cancer, but that white grapes may lack the same protective elements found in the grapes used in red wines.
At the same time they said findings were encouraging, and that changing to red wine might ‘shift the risk' of getting breast cancer.
‘If you were to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider a glass of red,' said Chrisandra Shufelt, assistant director of the Women's Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and one of the study's co-authors. ‘Switching may shift your risk.'
Glenn D Braunstein, vice president for clinical innovation at Cedars-Sinai said, ‘There are chemicals in red grape skin and red grape seeds that are not found in white grapes that may decrease breast cancer risk,' but he also advised that large-scale studies are still needed.
Even moderate amounts of alcohol intake may generally increase the risk of breast cancer in women, he said, and until larger studies are done, he would not recommend that a non-drinker begin to drink red wine
For more on your heart
1. Wine By
Andre Domine, Publisher Konemann 5th edition
Don’t hesitate to call an alcohol helpline if you think you’ve been drinking a lot more frequently than usual.