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A Mediterranean diet, red wine and haemostatic cardiovascular risk factors
Epidemiological studies have shown that some dietary factors and moderate drinking protect against cardiovascular disease. With CHD mortality, foods of animal origin correlate directly and foods of vegetable origin, fish and alcohol inversely. In the Seven Countries Study, populations used to a Mediterranean diet (rich in vegetables, olive oil, fish and wine) had the lowest mortality of the 7 countries studied.

The aim of this study by Dr. Mezzano , Prof. Leighton et al, was to compare the effect of an alcohol-free Mediterranean diet (MD) and a high-fat diet (HFD) on plasma levels of emergent haemostatic cardiovascular risk factors (HCVRF) and to test if red wine supplementation modifies HCVRF independent of diet.

Subjects were 42 male university students aged 22+who were equally assigned to MD (n=15) or HFD (n=15) or were free to select either diet (n=12) for 90 days. All subjects were free of clinical disease and obesity, had serum lipids and glucose within the normal range, were either light drinkers or teetotal. From day 31-60, both diets were supplemented with 240 ml red wine providing 23.2g alcohol daily. In the last 30 days, they received the same diet as in the first period.

Fasting blood samples drawn around 08.00 on days 0, 30, 60 and 90 were used to measure haemostatic and selected nutritional variables. Subjects on HFD at day 30 showed increases in the pro-coagulants fibrinogen (22%), factor VIIc (9%) and factor VIIIc (4%) and decreases in the natural anticoagulants antithrombin III (3%), protein C (11%) and protein S (6%) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1, 20%). Subjects on MD showed increases in fibrinogen (4%), antithrombin III (5%), protein C (3%) and protein S (2.7%) and decreases in factor VIIIc (9%) and PAI-1 (21%).The MD was associated with lower plasma fibrinogen, factor VIIc and factor VIIIc and with higher levels of protein S, after adjustment for baseline values.

Red wine supplementation, in both diets, decreased plasma fibrinogen and factor VIIc and increased tissue plasminogen activator and PAI-1 antigen. Also associated with wine supplementation were differential effects on antithrombin III: it increased by 10% in subjects on HFD and increased slightly in those on MD.

The results of this study confirm that moderate use of red wine further improves the favourable haemostatic profile of a Mediterranean diet. A MD and moderate use of red wine have complementary, most beneficial effects on haemostatic cardiovascular risk factors.

Source.Mezzano D, Leighton F, Martinez C et al. Complementary effects of Mediterranean diet and moderate red wine intake on haemostatic cardiovascular risk factors. Eur J Clin Nutr 55 (2001) 444-451.

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