Nutrition & Red Wine

January 6, 2020

By Frank D. Puzio

Since we all love wine, wouldn’t it be even better if it was actually beneficial to our overall health?  Can a glass of wine a day keep the doctor away?  Current literature more than suggests that this is true, especially for red wine.  In respected studies, consumption of red wine in moderation is now considered good for many aspects of our general health, especially for our cardiovascular system.  Certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good cholesterol” and protecting our vasculature against artery damage.  Specific components in wine called flavonoids, polyphenols, and especially resveratrol, are considered to be the key ingredients in red wine that help prevent damage to blood vessels by reducing “bad cholesterol” and preventing blood clots.  Also, extensive scientific study indicateS that daily red wine consumption in moderation decreases oxidative stress and enhances total antioxidant capacity in circulation.  These two factors are important because they are the opposite set of circumstances that implicate the pathogenesis of the cardiovascular disease.

Other studies indicate that the potent antioxidant qualities of resveratrol are about 20-50 times as effective as Vitamin C alone working synergistically with Vitamin C and enhancing the effects of each.  In addition, resveratrol is now thought to be beneficial in its anti-cancer fighting effects and may also keep Alzheimer’s at bay.  In addition, other studies suggest that a regular intake of red wine in moderation may help some to lose weight and fight obesity.

The primary beneficial ingredient, more prevalent in red wine is Resveratrol and it is found in large amounts in the grape leaves, stems and in the bark of grapevines, but most importantly, it is found in significant amounts in the skins of the red grape itself.  Since the fermentation of red wine takes place on the grape skins, the end product of the red wine we enjoy is rich in resveratrol.  As we all know, wine contains alcohol.  In recent studies, it is noted that small amounts of alcohol have some cardiovascular benefits as well.  Studies suggest that there is about a 25% less chance of our demise from cardiovascular disease with small amounts of routine alcohol consumption.  On the other hand, alcohol in excess is toxic to the human body.  Alcohol toxicity is a complicated topic, but in summary, aside from liver and pancreas issues, alcohol produces excess acetaldehyde triggering a reduction to the oxygen supply to the cells of the body, and especially in the brain, which consumes 20% of the oxygen we breathe.

Literature suggests that if we choose to consume alcoholic beverages, whether it is red wine or something else, we can protect ourselves from many of the effects of acetaldehyde toxicity with a good nutritional supplement regimen.  The list of known protective nutrients includes Lipoic Acid, N-acetyl-cysteine, Vitamin C, B1, B3, B5, B6, Zinc, Gamma Linoleic Acid, and Silmarin Extract.  Do I sense an inclusive nutritional supplement containing these substances for adult beverage consumers will be available someday?

Resveratrol can already be purchased as a stand-alone nutritional supplement without the negative effects of alcohol, but what fun is that?  For your information, two glasses of red wine have approximately 170 calories.  Dry red wines, like the Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel varietals are said to have the most beneficial health effects, but moderation is key.  In summary, it is considered beneficial for women to consume one 4 ounce glass of red wine daily and for men, due to a typical higher body-mass-index, and also to cope no more than 8 ounces.  Of course, my wife strongly disagrees with this highly scientific recommendation.  Since she is not in favor of increasing her body-mass-index we are dealing with this scientific portion recommendation privately.  No doubt, we share and share alike!

To your health, Salute´