Entries in Red Wine (5)


Study: Red Wine Minus the Alcohol Can Lower Blood Pressure

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wine lovers, get ready for a buzz kill.  A new study has found that drinking two glasses of red wine a day can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease -- but only if the alcohol has been removed.

Writing in the journal Circulation Research, Spanish investigators reported on 67 men with several cardiovascular risk factors or diabetes.  The men spent three periods of four weeks each, enjoying either non-alcoholic red wine, red wine, or gin with their meals, switching to a different beverage at the end of every phase.

During the month they indulged in regular red wine or gin, the men's blood pressures showed little or no change.  But there was a drop in their blood pressure when they drank the non-alcoholic wine.  The dip in pressure was modest -- just a few points -- but it translated into a 14 percent reduced risk for coronary heart disease and a 20 percent decrease in risk for strokes.

Polyphenols are the antioxidant compounds in red wine thought to bestow its heart-healthy benefits, including reduced blood pressure.  However, previous studies haven't found that drinking red wine corresponds to a drop in blood pressure.  Just last year, a Dutch study reported that drinking a dairy beverage infused with polyphenols didn't budge the blood pressures in those with mild hypertension.

Why would removing the alcohol from the wine improve pressure in this particular study?  The authors speculate that the virgin wine increased nitric oxide in the bloodstream, a chemical that relaxes blood vessels.

Drinking alcoholic red wine raised nitric oxide slightly and gin, not at all.  According to Dr. Franz Messerli, a cardiologist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York., this could mean that alcohol cancels out some of the good done by the antioxidants.

"Since alcohol in larger doses narrows the blood vessels, it can override the beneficial relaxation of the vessels by the polyphenols in the red wine," he said.

Dr. Malissa Wood, a cardiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center in Boston, said she thinks there could be other reasons why the nonalcoholic wine lowered blood pressure but they weren't clearly laid out in the study.

"Maybe it's related to the type of grape and process used to make the wine -- the authors didn't specify whether or not all the wines were made from the same grapes using the same techniques.  It's also possible that the process for removal of alcohol leads to formation of another potentially beneficial compound or increases the content of antioxidants," she said.

The study had additional limitations that should be considered as well.  For one thing, both the researchers and the men knew what each glass contained.  Perhaps this influenced them in some way.  The subjects also didn't do a "washout" period before switching drinks so their blood pressures didn't get a chance to reset to their baseline.

"There could be a carry-over effect between treatments that was cumulative with time, resulting in lower blood pressure as the trial continued in time," said Donna Arnett, the current president of the American Heart Association and a professor at the University of Alabama School of Public Health in Birmingham.

Including a group of teetotalers would have served as a useful comparison, Arnett said.  And, he said, the findings might not hold for women or healthy individuals.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could Red Wine Be the Secret to Anti-Aging?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Red wine, already linked to healthy hearts and protection against certain cancers, may slow down the aging process by activating a specific aging-related gene, says a new study.

Using mice, researchers looked at the effects of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine. It was previously found to protect against diseases often associated with aging, such as type 2 diabetes. They found that when the anti-aging gene, SIRT1, was turned off in mice, resveratrol offered none of its longevity benefits.

The compound, said co-author David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School, “revs up the battery packs of the cells—the mitochondria—and if we delete SIRT1 in mice, resveratrol doesn’t do that anymore.”

“The decline in batteries is a major factor that makes us susceptible to diseases. The cells have more energy and live longer,” he said. In addition, reversatrol contributes to longevity by mimicking the effects of diet and exercise.

“We do see the same protective effects in the animal as if they were on a very strict diet,” Sinclair said.

Some of Sinclair’s research had demonstrated the benefits of resveratrol on the SIRT1 pathway in other organisms, but a debate persisted over how it worked.

Other scientists argued that there must have been an explanation other than SIRT1 to account for their findings.

This study, he said, offers proof of the role SIRT1 plays in the relationship between resveratrol and aging, and could offer insight into how future anti-aging drugs may work.

But determining whether or not drinking some red wine will actually hold off old age is still a long way off. While there have been small studies examining the effects of resveratrol in humans, but so far, research has not shown how the compound affects people’s aging.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Unlocks Secrets of Red Wine Chemical

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you love to sit back and sip a glass of cabernet or pinot noir, you can feel good knowing that the health benefits of red wine are now a little less mysterious. Scientists have uncovered how resveratrol, the chemical found in grape skins, peanuts and dark chocolate, works in mice to help fight several chronic diseases.

For the past decade, researchers have been intrigued by the apparent health benefits of resveratrol, which has been shown to fight obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer in mice and seems to have some health benefits for humans. But no one understood how the chemical worked its magic on the body.

Now a new study from the National Institutes of Health has deciphered just how the chemical interacts with the body’s cells. The research is complicated, but spells out good news for the potential of the red-wine compound to treat chronic diseases.

Dr. Jay Chung, the study’s lead author, said resveratrol is tricky because it’s a “dirty molecule,” meaning it interacts in lots of different ways with the cells of the body. By first testing cells in the lab and then testing mice, Chung and his team were able to identify which of resveratrol’s cellular hook-ups delivered the chemical’s benefits.

“By identifying the principle target of resveratrol and by using a drug that specifically interacts with that target, we may be able to derive the benefits of resveratrol without the potential adverse effects of off-target hits,” Chung told ABC News.

Chung said he’s optimistic that knowing how the red-wine ingredient works to protect mice from chronic diseases will help scientists develop drugs that can work in the same way to treat human ills, such as heart disease, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease.

But don’t go chugging bottles of merlot just yet. The study notes that you’d have to drink more than 600 bottles of wine to get the amount of resveratrol that would deliver any noticeable health benefits.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Red Wine Ingredient Mimics Diet, Exercise

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MAASTRICHT, Netherlands) -- The red wine ingredient resveratrol mimicked the metabolic effects of dieting and exercising in obese men, a small study found.

Although it didn't lead to weight loss, a daily 150-milligram dose of resveratrol lowered blood pressure as well as blood glucose levels and liver fat in obese men after 30 days, Dutch researchers reported Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism.

"It seems to make you metabolically healthier without weight loss," said study author Patrick Schrauwen of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. "I don't think it's a weight-loss drug."

Resveratrol -- a compound found in grape skin, peanuts and dark chocolate -- has made headlines in recent years for its reputed health benefits. In 2006, Harvard researchers reported its ability to counteract the harmful effects of a high-fat diet and lower the risk of death in mice. It has also been shown to reduce cancer risk and slow aging in laboratory models -- findings yet to be replicated in humans despite soaring sales of the supplement.

"It had been shown in animal and cell studies to have potent effects on metabolic health but there were no human studies," Schrauwen said. "Our study shows that resveratrol can indeed have beneficial metabolic effects in humans."

Obesity ups the risk of type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease caused by insulin resistance. But after 30 days of resveratrol, study subjects showed signs of improved insulin sensitivity.

"The next steps are to see what the long-term effects are, but also to see if it might be even beneficial in people with type 2 diabetes who have a lot of metabolic disturbances," Schrauwen said.

Although the effects of resveratrol on metabolism were promising, they were small compared to the effects of exercise. Experts stressed that the supplement should be viewed as just that, a supplement to a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

"It would be a mistake to even hint that resveratrol could be a license to forego attempts at eating well and being active," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. "Eating well and being active can help prevent heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. We have no evidence yet -- and might never have any -- that resveratrol can do these things. Even if resveratrol lives up to its early promise, it should be combined with best efforts at living well, not substituted for them."

Schrauwen said no side effects were seen throughout the study, but cautioned that more research is needed to understand the supplement's long-term effects.

The study also opens the door for the development of new, more potent drugs that target the same pathway as resveratrol.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Red Wine’s Antioxidants Not Source of Heart-Healthiness

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands) -- It’s long been touted that a glass of red wine a day keeps the high blood pressure at bay. But according to a new Dutch study, the antioxidants called polyphenols found in red wine may not lower blood pressure at all.

HealthDay reports that among the study’s findings, the anti-hypertensive effects of polyphenols are not the source of red wine's cardiovascular system benefits.

The study surveyed 61 people averaging around 61 years of age, all of whom had borderline high blood pressure. Study participants consumed dairy beverages that contained either the red wine polyphenols or a harmless placebo over the course of four weeks.

The study concluded that there was no difference in blood pressure levels between the two groups.

"Red wine drinking may still be beneficial to prevent cardiovascular diseases. However, this apparently occurs in a blood pressure-independent manner," said study author Ilse Botden, a graduate student at University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

The findings, however, do not indicate that red wine in moderation isn’t heart-healthy.

The research suggests that while red wine does not decrease cardiac risks by lowering blood pressure, its anti-inflammatory properties instead are mainly responsible for lowering a drinker's cardiovascular risk, according to Dr. William O'Neill, a professor of cardiology and the executive dean for clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The study’s findings will be presented Friday at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio