Red Wine Benefits the Young Too

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 years old.

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 their systems.

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 drinking.

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."






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