been continuous debates on the effects of wine on heart health. There are
numbers of studies trying to prove or disprove this theory. This debate stems
Paradox’ observation that French people have a moderately low rate of coronary
(CHD), whilst having a diet quite rich in saturated fats. The paradox is that
suggesting saturated fats to CHD is valid, the French should have a much higher
comparison to a number of other. It has
been suspected that France’s high red wine
is a primary factor in this reduced rate of CHD. This theory was heightened in
minute broadcast in 1991.(ref) The broadcast sparked a large increase in North
demand red wines from around the world.
beginning this study a number of aspects of wine need to be considered; the
antioxidants and the concertation of congeners. Quite a number of studies need
and contrasted in order to form a reasonable theory. It is important to look
negative effects as well as the positive effects. Practical experiments on
in comparing results as well as research papers.
The Effect of Red and
White Wine on your Health and Heart.
looking at the effects of red and white wine on your health, it is necessary to
content in wine itself. There are quite a number of studies on alcohols effect
and all come to the same conclusion that simply, excessive amounts of alcohol
detrimental to one’s health.
component of alcohol that gets you drunk is ethyl alcohol. As soon as alcohol
is taken it
your stomach and accesses your bloodstreami.1
Only 2 to 8 percent is lost in
urine. However the other 92-98% is metabolised in your body. Your body sees
a poison, as it cannot be stored and wants to break it down. All ethyl alcohol
down is converted to acetaldehyde by the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme.2
dehydrogenase molecules are most active primarily in the stomach and the
can be found in other tissues also. The hydrogen which is released when
turns alcohol into acetaldehyde binds to a compound called NAD+ (
Adenine Dinucleotide) to form NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide
dehydrogenase works from the mitochondria of cells. It works by removing a
atom from acetaldehyde which then produces acetic acid, again forming NADH as
above in Figure 1.
quite a number of aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes found in the body. The one
looking at is ALDH2, which is the main active enzyme to convert acetaldehyde to
acid. Another aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme found in the body called ALDH2*2, is
eight percent as efficient as ALDH2 in breaking down acetaldehyde. 2 It was
some of the East Asian population have ALDH2*2 rather ALDH2 in their bodies.
individuals find the effect of alcohol to be more extreme than ALDH2 carriers. The
dehydrogenase enzymes are in high concentration in the liver but can be found
amounts in other tissues of the body.
The degree of lipid
accumulation depends on the supply of dietary fat. Gradual alteration of
mitochondria, which only
occurs during chronic alcohol consumption, lowers levels of fatty acid
interrupting the citric acid cycle activity. Due to this interference,
amounts of ketone
bodies are formed which results in ketonemia. 3
Examples of these
ketone bodies are shown below in figure 2;
Fig 2 Fig
Ketone bodies are
normally used as energy for the body by forming two GTP and twenty-two
ATP molecules for
every acetoacetate molecule when oxidation occurs in the mitochondria.
Ketone bodies are
transported from the liver to other tissues, where acetoacetate and beta-
hydroxybutyrate can be
reconverted to acetyl-CoA via the citric acid cycle. However as
mentioned above excessive
amounts of alcohol alter the mitochondria and interfere with this
preferentially utilizes fatty acids as fuel under normal physiologic
However, under ketotic
conditions, the heart can effectively utilize ketone bodies for this
purpose. However, the mitochondrial
damage preserves fatty acid build up even in the absence
of ethanol oxidation.4
Alcohol facilitates esterification of the accumulated fatty acids to
phospholipids, and cholesterol esters, all of which accumulate in the liver.
encourages the accumulation
of Low density lipoproteins (“bad cholesterol”) which deliver fat
molecules to the cells
and can encourage the progression of atherosclerosis if they become
oxidized within the
walls of arteries. 5 Moderate alcohol consumption is said to
the opposite effect
and raise the amount of High density lipoproteins (“good cholesterol”).
The case of alcohol
has been extensively studied, but the key question is whether wine offers
Despite the alcohol
content wine has a number of benefits. This is known as the “French
Paradox” which refers to the observation that the French
suffer a relatively low incidence of
heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. 6
was first noted by Irish physician Samuel Black in 1819.
During our studies, we
found this to be true (in moderation).
Wine contains a number
of antioxidants which inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. They
are free radical
scavengers. 7 Oxidation reactions result in the production of free
which are a highly
reactive species that commence chain reactions (domino effect) that damage
Antioxidants inhibit these reactions from occurring by getting rid of the free
and prevent any side oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves.
8 Antioxidants are seen as reducing agents for
example thiols or polyphenols such as
Resveratrol. In this
case they prevent the oxidation of the fatty acids in the walls of the arteries
cholesterol as explained above in alcohols effects. In wine, these antioxidants
The Mayo Clinic, 9 speculates that it is the polyphenol
resveratrol that “Might
be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood
low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and
blood clots. Some
research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of
inflammation and blood
clotting, which can lead to heart disease. But
other studies found no
resveratrol in preventing heart disease.” 9
Fig: 4 (ref)
are a type of antibiotics formed by plants when under threat by pathogens such
fungus or bacteria. 6 Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced
organically by a number of
grape vines. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red
across a study which stated that “The red wine phenolics trans-resveratrol and
block human platelet aggregation and eicosanoid synthesis: Implications for
against coronary heart disease” 10. This particular study analysed
the effects of
on human platelet aggregation and on the synthesis of three eicosanoids
are signalling molecules that are formed by the enzymatic or non-enzymatic
of arachidonic acid or different types polyunsaturated fatty acids) from
platelets. The study came to the conclusion that trans-Resveratrol prevented the synthesis
thromboxane), HHT(hydroxyheptadecatrienoate), and 12-HETE
from arachidonate depending on the dosage. 10 Alcohol free red
platelet aggregation. Their ability to impede the synthesis of TxB2 but not
from arachidonate by human platelets was proportional to their
These results are consistent with the notion that trans-resveratrol may
to the suspected protective role of red wine against atherosclerosis and
There is a
large phenolic contents in red wine especially, resveratrol for one but wine
flavonols. For example the flavanol quercetin. A study done to prove that wine
protect against LDL oxidation and Atherosclerosis 12 showed that
red wine (but not of white wine) by healthy volunteers, resulted in the enhancement
plasma LDL with flavonoid antioxidants such as quercetin, the potent free
flavanol, which binds to the LDL through a glycosidic ether bond.
determine the effect of red wine consumption on atherosclerosis, mice were
used. In the
wine consumption for two months resulted in a forty percent decrease in basal
a decline in LDL oxidizability and aggregation and a thirty five percent
in lesion size. Red wine consumption resulted in build-up of flavonoids in the
and the cells oxidized LDL and took up LDL about forty percent less than
from placebo-treated mice.12 The study concluded that red wine
against the accumulation of oxidized LDL in lesions as a first line of defense
(by a direct
of LDL oxidation), and as a second line of defense (by paraoxonase elevation
atherogenic lesion’s and lipoprotein’s oxidized lipids).
are a type of polymer chains of flavonoids such as catechins (plant
metabolite).6 Also known as OPCs (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins),
and leucoanthocyanin. They are found in several plants, grape seeds and skins.
effects of proanthocyanidins include neutralizing oxidants and free radicals,
the destruction of collagen (the most abundant protein in the body) and
fat in the
blood. Some research indicates that the vascular benefits of red wine drinking
presence of oligomeric proanthocyanidins.13
studies have shown that OPCs may prevent cardiovascular disease by relieving
negative effects of high cholesterol on the heart and blood vessels. 14
benefits of resveratrol on humans have yet to be physically proven. In mouse
experiments, blood-sugar-lowering, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and other
effects of resveratrol and flavanols have been reported. The majority of these
have yet to be performed on humans.
there have been a number of studies which analyse the effects of wine itself on
heart compared to other alcoholic beverages. A study done on the impact of
wine consumption on health15, looked at both resveratrol and
came to the
conclusion that the balance of moderate wine intake was beneficial and that
reasonable agreement in beneficial effects of moderate wine consumption in
disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, possibly neurological diseases.
study on wine and your heart 16 did not carry out any practical
research but analysed
a number references
similar to the point of this project. Following a number of cross
it was found that moderate intake of alcoholic beverages is associated with a
of CHD in populations.
A study on
the mortality associated with moderate intakes of wine, beer or spirits
the conclusions from the previous studies.17 They completed a
on 6051 men
and 7234 women aged 30 to 70. The study came to the conclusion from their
research that low to moderate consumption of wine is associated with lower
from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. The same consumption of
an increased risk. However beer did not result in any change on mortality.17
small doses is assumed to protect against ischaemic heart disease. In this
three to five glasses of wine a day had half the risk of dying as those who
Beer and spirit drinkers experienced no such advantages, and three to five
day was associated with increased mortality.17
has more or less the same health benefits as red wine. We noticed a lack of
the effects of white wine on your heart and health to the effects of white
that bit more difficult to answer the question; Which is better, Red or White
has many of the same positive health benefits as red wine. It, too, contains
that have antioxidant properties, which can help prevent cancer. 18
is also suspected to have the ability to protect the heart against aging
carried out by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine 19.
effects of red wine have been accredited to several polyphenolic antioxidants
and proanthocyanidins. The aim of the their study was to determine
white wines could also provide protection to the heart and surrounding
many of the
study to date, this analysis was carried out on rats. The results of the study
that out of the three different white wines that were analysed, only one of the
showed cardiovascular protection which was showed improved ventricular recovery
fewer numbers of antioxidants in white wine than red wine. The reason for this
that red wine grapes are fermented with the
seeds and skins which are rich in tannins and
As seen in
Figure 9 the presence of anthocyannins,
flavan-3-ols and flavanols
in the skin of the grape. Resveratrol is found in the seeds. From this alone we
that maybe red wine is that little bit better for you than white wine due to the
polyphenolic compounds providing antioxidant properties.
contains lower levels of congeners that white wine. In the alcoholic drinks
are substances produced during the fermentation process.20 These substances
small amounts of chemicals such as methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, esters,
aldehydes. Congeners are accountable for the majority of the taste and aroma of
has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a
Congeners are in high concentration in dark beverages such a red wine, whiskey
bourbon. They are in much lower concentration in vodka, white wine and gin.
studies on congeners in red wine vs white but a study on ‘Hangovers and Whiskey
preformed a clinical study on 68 non-drinkers and moderate alcohol
revealed that the hangover symptoms were non-existent for the same quantities
to whiskey. It was found that the whiskey congeners slow the metabolism of
prolong the action and after effects. This study in fact confirmed that, in
amounts of vodka, vodka caused a less sever hangover. One particular
methanol, can break down into to formaldehyde and formic acid which worsen a
they are toxic substances which cause nausea and headaches. 21
In a brief
conclusion it might be valid to say that maybe a glass of wine a day may keep
away! (always in moderation). As for white wine, many of the positive effects
too seen in white wine. It is just the lower levels of antioxidants and
that make red wine that make it that little bit more beneficial to one’s health
to red wine
being fermented with the seeds and skins).
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