An new study has isolated an additional role of polyphenols in cardiovascular disease reduction.
The study on rats, which assessed the role of an alcohol free red wine on the cholesterol rich diet of the rats proved that the polyphenols had a marked effect on decreased adherence of platelets (their stickiness) and prolonged clotting time. This protection against clotting occurred whether the red-wine substances were given throughout the 5-month trial or only added for the last month, suggesting that much of the effects are short term.’ The message often reiterated is ‘little and often’.
The study suggests that whereas the polyphenols from wine have little effect on lipids, they may have important effects on coagulation. In lay terms this means alcohol-free wine has no effect on high blood cholesterol levels of animals given a very high-cholesterol diet, but markedly decreased the tendency for blood to clot. Alcohol (from any alcoholic beverage) is known to stimulate an increase in beneficial HDL-cholesterol, and to reduce the damaging LDL’s associated with a cholesterol rich diet and this study points out that the additional substances in wine, or indeed dark beers and ciders may be important in blocking the increased clotting tendency that occurs with a high-fat diet.
Compared with animals fed a standard diet, those on the cholesterol-rich diet showed a several-fold increase in lipids and FVII levels with a concomitant significant increase in both thrombotic tendency and platelet adhesion.
Alcohol-free red wine supplementation almost completely reverted the prothrombotic effect of the cholesterol-rich diet. Indeed, the OT was prolonged from 78 to 122 (P<0.01), while platelet adhesion to fibrillar collagen was reduced from 49 to 2.8%. Neither the increase in lipid levels induced by the cholesterol-enriched diet nor FVII or fibrinogen levels were modified by wine supplementation.
Source: De Curtis A, et al Alcohol-free red wine prevents arterial thrombosis in dietary-induced hypercholesterolemic rats: experimental support for the ‘French paradox’. J Thromb Haemost 2005;3:346-350.