Many epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies suggest that chronic and moderate consumption of red wine benefits cardiovascular health, because of the alcoholic content or the polyphenols/flavonoids.
A study in the South Afircan Medical Journal compared the antioxidant and cardioprotective properties of a French red wine (cabernet sauvignon, 12% alcohol by volume) with those of the same wine subjected to reverse osmosis for partial removal of alcohol (6% alcohol by volume).
Antioxidant capacity was assessed in vitro using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay. To test the cardioprotective effect of 12% v. 6% wine, the drinking water of rats used for controls was supplemented with red wine (12% or 6%). After 10 days, hearts were isolated on a Langendorff system and subjected to 30 minutes of global ischaemia plus 30 minutes of reperfusion (I/R).
The research identified no differences in antioxidant capacity were observed between wine of 12% and 6% alcohol content (n=8 per group). Control hearts subjected to I/R presented a rate pressure product (heart rate x left ventricular developed pressure, expressed as a percentage of baseline value) of 16±4% (mean±standard error). Pretreatment with wine 12% or 6% improved the rate pressure product to 40±6% and 43±6%, respectively (p<0.05 v. control).
The study findings suggest that the reduction of alcohol content from 12% to 6% in wine did not alter its antioxidant and cardioprotective properties. The authors therefore conclude that moderate and regular consumption of lower alcohol content wines may confer beneficial effects without the risks associated with traditional wines of higher alcohol content.
Source: Lowering the alcohol content of red wine does not alter its cardioprotective properties. Kim Lamont, Dee Blackhurst, Zulfah Albertyn, David Marais, Sandrine Lecour. S Afr Med J 2012;102(6):565-567.