Page last updated: Thursday, November 26, 2009
Two studies on Grapes, wine, resveratrol and heart health
A review entitled ‘Grapes, Wine, Resveratrol and Heart Health’ is published in the September edition of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. The review states that ‘epidemiological and experimental studies have revealed that a mild-to-moderate drinking of wine, particularly red wine, attenuates the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular risk. However, the experimental basis for such health benefits is not fully understood.

The cardioprotective effect of wine are attributed to alcohol (at least 75%) as well as to polyphenols (antioxidants) Resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant) is mainly found in the grape skin, while proanthocyanidins are found only in the seeds.

Recent studies have demonstrated that resveratrol and proanthocyanidin are the major compounds present in grapes and wines responsible for cardioprotection’.

The review provides evidence that grapes and wines as well as resveratrol are equally important in reducing the risk of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular complications. Both wines and grapes can attenuate cardiac diseases such as atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease. It appears that resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, especially resveratrol, present in grapes and wines play a crucial role in cardio-protective abilities of grapes and wines.

Source: Grapes, Wines, Resveratrol and Heart Health Bertelli, Alberto A A MD, PhD.; Das, Dipak K PhD, ScD J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2009 Sep 18.

A second study from Boston University School of Medicine reports that ‘Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of wine, grape products, and other foods containing polyphenols is associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Experimental studies indicate that grape polyphenols could reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by a number of mechanisms, including inhibition of oxidation of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and other favorable effects on cellular redox state, improvement of endothelial (artery wall) function, lowering blood pressure, inhibition of platelet aggregation (stickiness or clotting), reducing inflammation, and activating novel proteins that prevent cell senescence, such as Sirtuin 1.

Translational studies in humans support these beneficial effects. More clinical studies are needed to confirm these effects and formulate dietary guidelines. The available data, however, strongly

support the recommendation that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including grapes, can decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Source: Grapes and Cardiovascular Disease. Mustali M. Dohadwala and Joseph A. Vita. Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 139, No. 9, 1788S-1793S, September 2009

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