Nutrition & Red Wine

May 10, 2017

By Dr. 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 indicate that daily red wine consumption in moderation decreases oxidative stress and enhances total antioxidant capacity in the circulation. These two factors are important because they are the opposite set of circumstances that implicate the pathogenesis of cardio-vascular 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 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 grape vines, 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 include: 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 has 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,


A new study finds that a glass of vino may contain muscle fatigue-fighting benefits.

Red wine drinkers can savor their next glass a little more thanks to new scientific research.

The results of a study that were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology show that the muscles of monkeys who received a supplement of an antioxidant called resveratrol are more resistant to fatigue.

Resveratrol is a natural component of blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and grape skins — and thus red wine.

The antioxidant is believed to help prevent damage to blood vessels, prevent blood clots and reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), according to the nonprofit Mayo Clinic.

The team of researchers behind the latest study of resveratrol also notes that prior animal studies involving mice found that resveratrol increases lifespan and slows the onset of diabetes. One prior study found that resveratrol mirrored the positive effects of aerobic exercise in mice fed a high-fat and high-sugar diet.

Researchers wanted to find out if a resveratrol supplement would counteract the negative effects that a high-fat and high-sugar diet has on hind leg muscles.

They examined three muscles. The resveratrol supplement helped two of them:

  • The soleus muscle. This diet negatively affected this large muscle spanning from the knee to the heel that is used extensively in standing and walking. However, the resveratrol counteracted the diet’s negative effect.
  • The plantaris muscle. The diet did not negatively affect the 5- to 10-centimeter-long muscle along the back of the calf. However, the resveratrol did benefit the muscle.

The third muscle — the extensor digitorum longus, which is located along the outside of the lower leg — was unaffected by the diet or the resveratrol.

Researcher J.P. Hyatt, an associate professor at Georgetown University,explains in a news releasethat the results imply that the soleus and plantaris muscles were “far more fatigue-resistant than those without resveratrol.”

As for how the study might apply to humans, Hyatt says muscles of a similar type as the soleus and plantaris “can sustain longer periods of activity and could contribute to improved physical activity, mobility, or stability, especially in elderly individuals.”

While these results are encouraging, and there might be a temptation to continue eating a high fat/high sugar diet and simply add a glass of red wine or a cup of fruit to one’s daily consumption, the researchers stress the importance of a healthy diet cannot be overemphasized.