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Does drinking red wine protect against heart disease ? By Brian Eccleston. INTRODUCTION.
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Ever since the discovery that red wine could help in the reduction of Coronary Heart Disease, CHD the controversy surrounding its effects has not stop. Currently there is a wealth of evidence to suggest the benefits but there are some detractors who believe there other reasons such as food and exercise is best.
As early as 1819 was the connection between
wine and health detected ( ‘French Paradox’).
1980- Honolulu Heart study showed
moderate alcohol consumption reduced CHD.
The subject did not re-merged until the early
1990s after the screening of the ‘60minutes’
documentary in the USA on this subject.
1992 -British Medical Journal *reports drinking up to two glasses of wine lowers CHD in women.
Doll studied 12 321 British doctors,publishing
in 1994. The lowest risk of death occurred
with one to two drinks per day. CHD deaths
were reduced in all.
Gaziano et al, publishing in 2000, studied
89299 US male physicians. Up to one drink
per day conferred a lower overall mortality.
There was no benefit from drinking more than
two drinks per day.
The ‘fuss’ is about red wine being cardio-
protective against heart disease. Majority
of evidence has come from epidemiological
studies in USA,UK and France.The focus of
the studies has been on the antioxidant
properties of wine’s phenolic compounds and
flavanoids which appear to reduce risk of
atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
As early as 1992 in the The New England
Journal of Medicine researchers* have
concluded mild to moderate drinking of
alcohol particularly red wine is beneficial for
reducing coronary heart disease. Other
evidence* points to alcohol suppressing
cancer growth, platelet aggregation and
increasing antioxidant activity. The focus
being on red wine and its properties
The Main ones:
Resveratrol-first studied by E H Siemann
and Leroy Creasy in 1992 at Cornell
University who first described it in wine
(see structure) It is the main phenolic
compound in wine. Results show resveratol could: 1.) Inhibit the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL).
2.) Inhibit platelet aggregation by blocking the production of eicosanoid synthesis.
More abundant than reserveratol >100mg/l.
There are four major classes:the anthocyanin,
the catechins (theflavanols),and oligomers
(also called procyanidins).There is another
group of called polymers of catechins (tanins )
Main facts: 1) Wine flavanoids inhibit platelet
aggregation by blocking the oxygenase
enzymes. 2) the catechins are a powerful
antioxidant especially epicatechin (see structure)
The flavanoids are also thought to improve immune function.
In essence, the 'French paradox' is the observation that although the French don't eat a particularly healthy diet, they show much reduced rates of coronary heart disease when compared with northern European nations such as the UK and Germany. Why might this so? The most popular explanation has been that the relatively high consumption of alcohol, and in particular red wine, by the French, which in some way acts to protect them from heart disease.
Studies about red wine and heart disease
mainly based on epidemiological studies
done on Northern Europeans. Red wine
contains more flavanoids than red or
purple grape juice because the process of
wine making extracts more from the
seeds and skins..
The combination of epidemiological,clinical and mechanistic studies strongly suggests that wine phenolics are beneficial nutrients that can reduce CHD mortality and their effects.
These phenolics must absorbed into the bloodstream to have any direct effect on coronary diseases.
Heart Disease may be reduced by taking:
2 glasses red wine or purple grape juice.
Green or black tea can also be taken.
Nearly all researchers have reported that more than two glasses of red wine tends to have a negative effect on heart disease. Some detractors have said that other causes such as exercise, low fat diets,not smoking and treating hypertension as well as taking low-dose aspirin.should be included. as contributing factors