Red Wine is Good … Right?

There has been all kinds of Debate for all kinds of time on the good, the bad, and the Ugly of Red wine. Most of us drink up any bit of “health” or “science” news printed in Newsweek, or Time, etc. searching ravenously for any information that say’s it’s good for us.

We all need it to be healthy, because we ain’t gonna stop drinkin’.

Resently, Reservatrol, a compound found in Red Wine has been all the rage on in the news media. Is Reservatrol the holy grail?

Here is a link to a study from the Linus Pauling Institute.

The basic summary is this:

Summary

  • Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts and some berries. (More Information)
  • When taken orally, resveratrol appears to be well-absorbed by humans, but its bioavailability is relatively low because it is rapidly metabolized and eliminated. (More Information)
  • Scientists became interested in exploring potential health benefits of resveratrol when its presence was reported in red wine, leading to speculation that resveratrol might help explain the “French Paradox.” (More Information)
  • Moderate alcohol consumption has been consistently associated with 20-30% reductions in coronary heart disease risk, but it is not yet clear whether red wine polyphenols, such as resveratrol, confer any additional risk reduction. (More Information)
  • Although resveratrol can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in culture and some animal models, it is not known whether high intakes of resveratrol can prevent cancer in humans. (More Information)
  • Resveratrol administration increased the lifespans of yeast, worms, and fruit flies, but it is not known whether resveratrol will have similar effects in higher animals or humans. (More Information)
  • At present, relatively little is known about the effects of resveratrol in humans.

So there you have it. Reservatrol may or may not be good … but we should think twice before believing that by drinking wine every night, we are staving off disease.

My basic feelings on the subject are that while alcohol is often ASSOCIATED with a reduction in heart desease, that doesn’t mean that it’s the alcohol ITSELF that is good. It could be other compounds, like reservatrol, that you could simply supplement in a healthier fashion.

The downs of regular alcohol consumption, in my opinion, still out weight the ups. By a lot!

Here are some highlights:

1

A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that a woman’s risk of breast cancer rises with the amount of alcohol regularly consumed. Drinking moderately or not at all can reduce the chance of getting breast cancer.

The study showed that women who drink two to five alcoholic drinks each day, were 41 percent more likely[/link] to develop breast cancer than nondrinkers. Excessive alcohol consumption also increases the risk of several digestive-tract cancers.

2

Dr. Noriyuki Nakanishi, from the department of social and environmental medicine at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, lead author of the first study, concluded that “Alcohol use represents an important modifiable risk factor for hypertension.”

Researchers observed that as the alcohol consumption rate went up, so did blood pressure. In the 12 grams to 22 grams per day group, systolic blood pressure went up 1.4 points in those between the ages of 25 and 35, but increased 5.4 points for men between the ages of 48 and 59, indicating that drinking affects older persons more.

3

A report published in the British Medical Journal indicates that men who have five drinks a day are twice as likely to die from stroke than non drinkers. Those men who drank an average of only two drinks a day had a higher risk of dying from all causes, compared with men who consumed fewer alcoholic beverages.

The 21-year study was comprised of 5,766 men aged 35 to 64 from various workplaces in Glasgow, Clydebank and Grangemouth, Scotland.

“The overall association between alcohol consumption and death is unfavorable for men drinking over 11 drinks a week and does not support the promotion of increased drinking for reasons of health,” conclude a team of researchers led by Carole L. Hart, a research fellow at the department of public health at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

4

A new study reports that long-term alcohol consumption can harm the body’s ability to respond to stressors like illness or injury. Too much alcohol can cause you to get sick by weakening your body’s defenses.

-Catherine Rivier, professor at the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

5

In the January 2002 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, lead author Arturo Gonzalez-Quintela reported a link between moderate alcohol consumption and IgE antibodies, which cause allergic symptoms by overreacting to generally harmless substances inhaled from the air.

From their research the authors concluded:

  • Subjects who had the genetic allergy to dust mites — and who had one drink or more every day — had higher levels of antibodies.
  • Alcohol is a risk factor for developing allergies.
  • Alcohol seems to interfere with the immune system — and even moderate amounts have a subtle effect on immunity.
  • The findings, however, do not justify the conclusion that alcohol intake should be avoided by (allergy-prone) patients.

6

Harmful Consequences of Alcohol Use on the Brains of Children, Adolescents, and College Students (PDF 69KB) is a compilation and summary of two decades of comprehensive research on how alcohol affects the brains of youth. The report’s aggregation of extensive scientific and medical information reveals just how harmful drinking is to the developing brain and serves as a wakeup call to parents, physicians, elected officials, law enforcement, purveyors of alcohol – including the alcohol industry – and young drinkers themselves.

And the list goes on and on and on.

We all wish it were good for us. But it really isn’t. And if your goal is to be lean … then cut it out completely.

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