Tag Archives: red wine

Red Wine For Athletic and Bedroom Performance

Quercetin in red wine may boost blood levels of testosterone, according to very preliminary research covered by ScienceDaily.  Higher testosterone levels may boost athletic performance and rev up libido.   

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Red Wine Improves Circulation

Red wine’s beneficial health effects may be related to improved circulation, according to a recent study by Israeli researchers.

Red wine is a time-honored component of the healthy Mediterranean diet.  Consumption is associated with longer lifespan and less cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks. 

Israeli investigators had 14 young healthy volunteers drink 250 cc of red wine daily for 21 days, while monitoring markers of circulatory function.  Endothelial progenitor cells may be particularly important in maintenance, repair, and formation of the arterial circulatory system.

Here’s their conclusion:

The results of the present study indicate that red wine exerts its effect through the up-regulation of CXCR4 expression and activation of the SDF1/CXCR4/Pi3K/Akt/eNOS signaling pathway, which results in increased [endothelial progenitor cell] migration and proliferation and decreased extent of apoptosis. Our findings suggest that these effects could be linked to the mechanism of cardiovascular protection that is associated with the regular consumption of red wine.

I’m not going to tell you I understand all that.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t, either.  My point is to illustrate one way that Science makes progress.  An observant person notices, “Hey, people who drink judicious amounts of red wine seem to live longer and have fewer heart attacks.  I wonder how that works.”  Perhaps a plausible mechanism is identified.  That might lead to isolation of a specific component in red wine that yields the benefit.  Then that component is produced and disseminated, leading to the health benefits, without the risks of alcohol consumption.

It’s an expensive, time-consuming enterprise with many blind alleys.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Hamed, Saher, et al.  Red wine consumption improves the in vitro migration of endothelial progenitor cells in young, healthy individuals.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 14, 2010.    doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28408

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Filed under Alcohol, coronary heart disease, Health Benefits, Mediterranean Diet

Red Wine With Meaty Meals Possibly Healthier Than Wine and Meat Alone

Meaty meal in the making
Meaty meal in the making

 Wine is a time-honored component of the healthy Mediterranean diet and, traditionally, is consumed with meals.

For science and food geeks, Bix at the Fanatic Cook blog has a post outlining how red wine consumption with meals might be healthy: it reduces blood levels of cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products like malondialdehyde.

By no means is Fanatic Cook always this esoteric.  Check out some of the other topics there.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Alcohol, Mediterranean Diet

Potential Beneficial Effects of Alcohol

FOD023For centuries, the healthier populations in the Mediterranean region have enjoyed wine in light to moderate amounts, usually with meals.  Observational studies there and in other parts of the world have associated reasonable alcohol consumption with prolonged lifespan, reduced coronary artery disease, diminished Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and possibly fewer strokes. 

Alcohol tends to increase HDL cholesterol, have an antiplatelet effect, and may reduce C-reactive protein, a marker of arterial inflammation. These effects would tend to reduce cardiovascular disease.  Wine taken with meals provides antioxidant phytochemicals (polyphenols, procyanidins) which may protect against atherosclerosis and some cancers.

What’s a “reasonable” amount of alcohol?  An old medical school joke is that a “heavy drinker” is anyone who drinks more than the doctor does.  Light to moderate alcohol consumption is generally considered to be one or fewer drinks per day for a woman, two or fewer drinks per day for a man.  One drink is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (e.g., vodka, whiskey, gin). 

The optimal health-promoting type of alcohol is unclear.  I tend to favor wine, a time-honored component of the Mediterranean diet.  Red wine in particular is a rich source of resveratrol, which is thought to be a major contributor to the cardioprotective benefits associated with light to moderate alcohol consumption.  Grape juice and grape extracts may be just as good—it’s too soon to tell.

Don’t miss my next blogging topic – “Potential Adverse Effects of Alcohol.”

Steve Parker, M.D.

Author of The Advanced Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight, Feel Better, Live Longer  

References:

Standridge, John B., et al.  Alcohol consumption: An overview of benefits and risks.  Southern Medical Journal, 97 (2004): 664-672.

Luchsinger, Jose A., et al.  Alcohol intake and risk of dementia.  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52 (2004): 540-546.

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