Unpublished research presented by John Lekakis and Christos Papamichael
of University Hospital in Athens at the annual meeting of the
European Society of Cardiology in September 2003 claims there
are enough beneficial chemicals in two glasses of red wine to
suspend the harmful effect that smoking one cigarette has on the
functioning of arteries.That does not prove regular red wine drinking
can counteract the harm of chronic smoking, they emphasise.
The scientists used a Greek red wine on 16 healthy volunteers.
It is suggested that wine polyphenols block production of endothelin-1
which causes blood vessels to contract, increasing blood pressure
and the danger of a heart attack.
One cigarette, smoked intensively, was enough to damage arterial
function for up to an hour afterwards, An intake of polyphenols
at the same time counteracted that effect. They established that
alcohol was not the cause of the beneficial effect by testing
an alcohol-free version, which worked just as well.