Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Red Wine Could Be Good for Your Lungs - new study
Red wine, already thought to be good for your heart, may be good for your lungs according to Dr John Harvey, chairman of the Communications Committee of the British Thoracic Society. The research was published in the international medical journal Thorax in October.

Resveratol, found naturally in red wine could help fight chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a study has found, although scientists say there is probably not enough of the stuff in a glass for chronic sufferers to drink their way to good health.

The study found that resveratrol could reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in the lungs that cause the diseases. The illnesses, known together as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kill an estimated 2.9 million people a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. And smokers are 10 times as likely as non-smokers to die of COPD. "It seems that drinking red wine in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet can reduce lung inflammation," stated Dr John Harvey.

In the study, lung fluid samples were taken from 15 smokers and 15 COPD patients. When resveratrol was added to the samples, it cut production of interleukin 8, a chemical that causes inflammation of the lungs. Production of the chemical was cut by 94 percent in smokers and by 88 percent in COPD patients.

COPD is now commonly treated with steroids, but resveratrol might prove more effective. It would not reverse the damage that has occurred to the lungs, but could help stop it from getting and worse, according to the study.

Although there is probably not enough resveratrol in a glass of wine for casual drinking to stop chronic lung disease, the antioxidant could be administered by and inhaler claim the authors. SOURCE: Culpitt SV et al. Inhibition by Red Wine Extract, Resveratrol, of Cytokine Release by Alveolar Macrophages in COPD. Thorax2003;58:942-6.

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