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This is a past review information related to the relationship between wine and its purported beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

Trans-resveratrol Facts
Resveratrol (3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene) is a natural molecule present in the majority of red and white wines in highly variable concentrations. It belongs to a group of compounds known as polyphenols, (those that contain may phenol groups in their molecular structure). Originnally, it was thought to work by exclusively lowering the cholesterol in the blood, as evidenced in the French paradox.
It is also considered to be a molecule with antiplatelet, anticancer and anti-inflammatory action.
Resveratrol is only one of about 200 phenolic compounds in wine. Other 'high roller' molecules found in wine are catechin and quercetin. It is presently believed that resveratrol may exert some of its biological effects by being a concentration dependent formaldehyde capture molecule and having an inhibitory effect on the production of reactive oxygen species in platelets caused by lipopolysaccharide or thrombin

Health Tips
Research has demonstrated that eating 400-600g/d of fruits and vegetables may help to reduce incidence of cancer in North Americans. Luckily for the consumer, fruits and vegetables are colour coded. Red foods usually contain lycopene (the pigment prominent in tomatoes), that becomes localized in the prostate and may be important in maintaining prostate health. Yellow green vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin which become localized in the retina where age related macular degeneration occurs. Red purple foods contain anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidant. Orange foods such as carrots and mangos contain beta carotene. The colour coding is part of a recommendation to eat one serving of each per day by the National Cancer Institute and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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Copyright 2001 Brock Chiro
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Cardiovascular Health and Wine

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the medical literature and the popular health media about the interaction of wine and cardiovascular health. Recent literature has suggested that the majority of the benefit from wine comes from trans-resveratrol, although some investigators believe that it may in fact be derived from the alcohol present. What is the trans-resveratrol molecule and what does it do? To help put things into perspective, we have reviewed articles published in respected, peer-reviewed industry, health and medical journals. Before consuming alcohol on a regular basis always consult your primary care physician or family doctor for potential interactions and/or side effects with your present medications. Additionally, any recommendations of intake must be made with respect to religious concerns, tendenancy toward abuse, drug interactions and side effects.

Alcohol, Wine, and Health

de Lorimier AA
Department of Surgery, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

Am J Surg 2000 Nov;180(5):357-61.

BACKGROUND: For the past 20 years numerous epidemiological studies have correlated the consumption of alcohol and a variety of disease states: overall mortality, arteriosclerotic vascular diseases, hypertension, cancers, peptic ulcer, respiratory infections, gall stones, kidney stones, age-related macular degeneration, bone density, and cognitive function. METHODS: A review of these articles reveals that each of these studies has compared the outcome of individuals at various levels of alcohol consumption with that of abstainers. RESULTS: Each analysis has identified a U-shaped or J-shaped curve of reduced relative risk for a given disease state compared with abstainers. A clear definition of consumption in moderation becomes evident: for men it should not exceed 2 to 4 drinks per day, and for women it should not exceed 1 to 2 drinks per day. CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol by itself has favorable effects on the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and inhibition of platelet aggregation. Wine, particularly red wine, has high levels of phenolic compounds that favorably influence multiple biochemical systems, such as increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, antioxidant activity, decreased platelet aggregation and endothelial adhesion, suppression of cancer cell growth, and promotion of nitric oxide production.

What does this mean? This paper by Dr. Alfred A. de Lorimier M.D. (also founder of the de Lorimier Winery in 1986) was well written and perhaps for the first time outlines a definition of consumption for the general population. His paper outlines the epidemiologic findings in stroke, peripheral atherosclerosis, upper gastrointestinal carcinogenesis, breast cancer, hypertension, peptic ulcers and several other common health complaints. He goes on to discuss the components of wine which are not present in beer and malt whiskey. These components include polyphenols, flavinoids, phenols, tannins. Although this recommendation comes from a surgical journal in the United States, one must always consult his/her primary healthcare practitioner with respect to undertaking any regimens of wine consumption. Additionally, any recommendations of intake must be made with respect to religious concerns, tendenancy toward abuse, drug interactions and side effects. This article is a review of scientific literature that has already been published.

Bonum vinum laetificat cor hominum.

Stoclet JC.
Med Sci Monit 2001 Jul-Aug;7(4):842-7

Beneficial effects of wine consumption on health have been suspected since the antiquity. Recent epidemiological studies show that coronary heart disease mortality markedly decreases from northern to southern Europe and is lower in Mediterranean than in other developed countries. Because wine is a component of the Mediterranean diet, it has been suggested that moderate wine especially red wine consumption may produce additional beneficial effects on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality compared to consuming the same quantitiy of alcohol in other beverages. Polyphenols are good candidates to explain the putative cardiovascular protective effect of wine, because they are abundant in wine especially red wine, and possess antioxidant and superoxide ion scavenging properties. Because it is readily accessible from blood and produces cardioprotective agents like nitric oxide (NO) the endothelial cell may be a privileged target for wine polyphenols. Polyphenols from red wine can prevent oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL). As oxidized LDL inhibit agonist-activated NO release from endothelial cells and subsequent endothelium-dependent relaxation of arteries, wine polyphenols might prevent LDL-induced alterations of endothelial function. Furthermore some wine polyphenols contained in oligomeric condensed tannins- and anthocyaninsD enriched fractions can act directly on endothelial cells to cause calcium-dependent release of NO. The latter effect is independent from superoxide scavenging and antioxidant properties of the polyphenols, and it is produced by compounds with specific structures only. Thus, decreased oxidation of LDL and enhanced release of NO from endothelium caused by polyphenols from red wine may result in cardiovascular protection. However further studies are required to demonstrate whether or not these effects are involved in the putative protective effect of wine on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

What does this mean? This article explores the putative molecular mechanisms related to the beneficial effects that wine has on the cardiovascular system. The author has found a somewhat compelling amount of evidence that suggests that endothelial cells (those cells that line the arterial blood vessels) may actually be the target of some of the polyphenolic compounds (biologically active organic chemical agents). The article draws our attention to gaps in our understanding of related health mechanisms. The author postulates that low density lipoprotein (LDL), oxidation of endothelial cells may be prevented by cardioprotective components in wine, chiefly the polyphenolics. Interestingly enough this study comes from the University of Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg France.

Other articles that suggest health promoting activities of trans-resveratrol in terms of cancer prevention, antiplatlet coagulation, and augmentation of HDL levels include the following;

Jang M, Cai L, Udeani GO, Slowing KV, Thomas CF, Beecher CW, Fong HH, Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Mehta RG, Moon RC, Pezzuto JM. Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol, a natural product derived from grapes. Science 1997 Jan 10;275(5297):218-20

Goldberg DM, Hahn SE, Parkes JG. Beyond alcohol: beverage consumption and cardiovascular mortality. Clin Chim Acta 1995 Jun 15;237(1-2):155-87

Additional References

Tyihak E, Albert L, Nemeth ZI, Katay G, Kiraly-Veghely Z, Szende B. Formaldehyde cycle and the natural formaldehyde generators and capturers. Acta Biol Hung 1998;49(2-4):225-38

Olas B, Wachowicz B, Saluk-Juszczak J, Zielinski T, Kaca W, Buczynski A. Antioxidant activity of resveratrol in endotoxin-stimulated blood platelets. Cell Biol Toxicol 2001;17(2):117-25

Mukamal KJ, Longstreth Jr WT Jr, Mittleman MA, Crum RM, Siscovick DS. Alcohol Consumption and Subclinical Findings on Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain in Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study. Stroke 2001 Sep 1;32(9):1939-1946

Heber D, Bowerman S. Applying science to changing dietary patterns. J Nutr 2001 Nov;131(11):3078S-81S
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