In the last decade there have been constant reports suggesting that red wine may have protective effects on the heart. With this research there has been an explosion in the sale of red wine in North America. Red wines sales are up by more than 100 percent over white wine.
The benefits of red wine appear to be associated with the presence of melatonin, flavonoids and resveratrol. Resveratrol is produced naturally from the skin of grapes during the fermentation process. Studies continue to report that not only does red wine keep the heart healthy, but also delays the aging process.
Based on these findings, many people have started to consume large amounts of antioxidant extracts of red wine, like the polyphenols and flavonoids. But is this of any benefit?
The latest study by LLSE PG Botden, MD from University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, indicates that just taking the red wine supplements has no affect on high blood pressure. In this small double blind study, individuals were give red wine or polyphenols extracts.
After each four-week period, the blood pressure and other heart parameters were measured. The group taking polyphenols did not have any measurable effect on blood pressure. The conclusion from this study was that red wine polyphenols do not have any affect on blood pressure (1).
So how red wine protects the heart still remains unknown. Moreover what ingredient(s) in red wine is responsible for the beneficial effects on the heart remains elusive. The studies on resveratrol have not been convincing or reproducible (2).
What should consumers do?
In my opinion, there is too much made about red wine and its medical benefits. What is almost never mentioned is that while some Europeans who consume red wine do have heart benefits, they also develop fair amount liver disease and alcohol dependence.
Moreover, red wine can trigger migraines, raise the triglyceride levels and each glass of wine adds close to 120 calories.
There is no magic bullet for maintaining good health. For consumers who want to prevent illnesses, the best advice is to discontinue smoking, walk regularly, eat a diet low in fats and high in veggies ... and yes, take a glass of red wine with each meal.
Botden I, et al "Red wine polyphenols do not lower peripheral or central blood pressure in mild hypertension. A randomized, double-blind crossover trial" HBPR 2011, Abstract P497.
Abstract : http://www.theheart.org/article/1284317.do
2. Wang et al. Resveratrol in cardiovascular disease: what is known from current research? Heart Fail Rev. 2011 Jun 19.
Reviewed September 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith