Drinking red wine regularly may
be good for circulatory system even for twenty year olds
according to a new Australian study which found that both
younger and older subjects consuming a half-bottle of Cabernet
Sauvignon daily showed improved cholesterol levels and reduced
oxidative stress on their blood vessels.
The short-term consumption resulted in
increased antioxidants and better cholesterol benefits,
concluded the study.
The study was published in the Sept.24
issue of Nutrition Journal with subjects varying from 20-50
Objective of the Study
Previous studies on the cardiovascular-health
benefits of wine have tended to focus on older populations,
and on the treatment rather than prevention of heart ailments,
said the co-author Paul Lewandowski, from the School of
Medicine at Deakin University in Victoria.
Paul and two other researchers from different
medical schools in Australia sought to determine whether
younger people differed from older ones in their ability
to benefit from drinking red wine.
"Our findings shed further light
on the nature of the beneficial effects of red wine consumption
and give supporting evidence for the recommendation that
red wine provides protective effects for cardiovascular
disease," the authors wrote.
"Also, drinking patterns and not just
the total amount of red wine consumed is important in the
association between intake and protection."
Study and the Subjects
Twenty subjects between the ages of 18
and 30, as well as twenty people aged 50 and older were
recruited. None of the participants took anti-coagulant
or anti-inflammatory medications. They did not have a history
of cardiovascular or liver disease either.
A week before the study started, the subjects
abstained from alcoholic beverages, grapes and grape products.
The scientists then took blood samples from each participant
to measure the levels of cholesterol and antioxidants in
For the following two weeks, 10 young and
10 older subjects were ordered to drink 400 mL of Australian
Cabernet Sauvignon daily, preferably at night with dinner.
The other 20 participants had to abstain from drinking any
wine. No one was allowed to consume any other form of alcohol,
grapes or grape products during the study period.After two
weeks, blood samples were taken again.
To serve as a crossover, all the subjects
then abstained from alcoholic beverages, grapes and grape
products. Blood sample was collected again, and the experiment
was repeated. This time the previously abstaining group
took turn drinking wine, and the original wine-drinking
group was ordered to abstain. At the end of another two-week
period, blood samples were taken.
The scientists found that the levels of
total antioxidants increased an average of 16 percent in
the older group that drank wine. This increase was only
7 percent for the younger group.
Furthermore, the levels of harmful free
radicals, which are molecules that can damage systems in
the body, were reduced by around half after two weeks of
Antioxidants are believed to bond with
and neutralize free radicals.
Conclusion of the Study
The results strongly suggest that in the
presence of red-wine consumption, total antioxidant status
has the ability to increase significantly.
Study 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.
The red-wine drinkers also showed healthier,
good HDL cholesterol levels, though there was little effect
on the level of harmful LDL cholesterol.
Limitations of the Study
There were only a few participants observed
for only short periods of time. "Additional longer-term
studies, for a period of more than six months, really need
to be done to truly determine the long-term health impact,
relevant to responsible red-wine drinking," said Paul.
"The problem is that, despite having
access to a large number of willing participants who are
prepared to drink the wine for more than six months, funding
the project is a constraint."