Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jon's Health Tips: Red Wine

I drink a glass of red wine almost every day, even though I don’t particularly like it. I wish I could drink more, but I just can’t. I make up some of the deficiency by eating a lot of organic raisins (dried grapes.) In dried fruit eating organic is especially important because the contamination is concentrated.
I drink cabernet sauvignon from Chile, which has the highest concentration of resveratrol. Here’s why:

New 'Wine Diet' Adds Years to Your Life

If you're contemplating giving up wine for your diet...Don't! There are far too many studies now showing the significant long-term health benefits from a daily glass or two of red wine to worry about the extra calories.
Top U.S. killers are heart disease and cancer, but it doesn't have to be that way. One study shows men can lower their risk of heart disease by 50% by drinking two glasses of red wine per day. And women who drink one glass per day reduce their risk by 30%.
What makes red wine so healthy? Red grape skins, seeds and stems all contain high concentrations of compounds called polyphenols - more commonly known as antioxidants. These same antioxidants also help prevent certain types of cancer such as prostate, colon, and skin cancer.
Do you think high blood pressure is at epidemic levels? Perhaps it's because not enough Americans have wine savvy. Wine lovers now realize a glass of wine also helps your body excrete excess sodium, which lowers your blood pressure.
And now you can stop worrying about growing old. Red wine also has resveratrol, which was most recently linked by two studies in mice, to living longer and to showing signs of reducing the leading factors that cause Alzheimer's disease. It might be too soon to predict if the results in mice will be duplicated in humans, but it's a promising step.

Substance in red wine found to keep hearts young
How do the French get away with a clean bill of heart health despite a diet loaded with saturated fats? Scientists have long suspected that the answer to the so-called "French paradox" lies in red wine. Now, the results of a new study bring them closer to understanding why.
Researchers report that low doses of resveratrol -- a natural constituent of grapes, pomegranates, red wine and other foods -- can potentially boost the quality of life by improving heart health in old age.
Previous research has shown that high doses of resveratrol extend life in invertebrates and prevent early death in mice given a high-fat diet. The new study extends those findings, showing that resveratrol in low doses, beginning in middle age, can elicit many of the same benefits as a reduced-calorie diet.
"Resveratrol is active in much lower doses than previously thought," said Tomas Prolla, a UW professor of genetics and a senior author of the new report.
In short, the authors note that a glass of wine or food or supplements containing even small doses of resveratrol are likely to help stave off cardiac aging.
That finding, may also explain the remarkable heart health of people who live in some regions of France where diets are soaked in saturated fats but the incidence of heart disease, a major cause of mortality in the United States, is low. In France, meals are traditionally complemented with a glass of red wine.
Red Wine Compound Shown To Prevent Prostate and Breast Cancer
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have found that nutrients in red wine may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
The study involved male mice that were fed a plant compound found in red wine called resveratrol, which has shown anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. Other sources of resveratrol in the diet include grapes, raspberries, peanuts and blueberries.
An earlier UAB study published May 2006 in the same journal found resveratrol-fed female mice had considerable reduction in their risk of breast cancer.
Lamartiniere said his research team has been pleasantly surprised at the chemoprevention power of wine and berry polyphenols like resveratrol in animal models.
"A cancer prevention researcher lives for these days when they can make that kind of finding," Lamartiniere said. "I drink a glass a day every evening because I’m concerned about prostate cancer. It runs in my family."
Resveratrol in red wine could cut colorectal cancer risk
Drinking more than three glasses of red wine a week could cut the risk of colorectal cancer by almost 70 per cent, researchers told the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas.
The potential benefits of the wine have been put down to the resveratrol content of the wine, and adds to an ever growing body of science linking the compound to a range of beneficial health effects, including brain and mental health, and cardiovascular health.
The new research, by Joseph Anderson, and his colleagues from the Stony Brook University in New York looked at the drinking habits of 360 red and white drinkers with similar lifestyles and found that, while white wine consumption was not found to have any association with colorectal cancer incidence, regular red wine consumption was linked to a 68 per cent reduced risk of the cancer.
And the researchers told attendees that the active component in wine that may be behind the apparent benefits is most likely resveratrol, an anti-fungal chemical that occurs naturally under the skin of red wine grapes.
“The concentration is significantly higher in red wine than in white wine, because the skins are removed earlier during white-wine production, lessening the amount that is extracted,” said Dr. Anderson.
Indeed, while resveratrol has been the subject of various studies, particularly in relation to heart health, recent studies have reported brain protecting effects from grape juice or wine – an effect linked to a synergy between the various polyphenols present.
A recent study using Concord grape juice by researchers from Tuft's University reported that the combination of the polyphenols could decrease the effects of aging on the brain.
The amount of resveratrol in a bottle of red wine can vary between types of grapes and growing seasons, and can vary between 0.2 and 5.8 milligrams per litre. But nearly all dark red wines – merlot, cabernet, zinfandel, shiraz and pinot noir – contain resveratrol.
However, experts are quick to warn that moderation is the key. A study from Harvard University last year reported that people who have three or more alcoholic drinks per day have a significantly higher risk of stroke. Lowest risk was observed for those who had one, or maybe two, drinks every other day.
Mounting evidence shows red wine antioxidant kills cancer
Researchers pinpoint how resveratrol induces pancreatic cancer cell death
Rochester researchers showed for the first time that a natural antioxidant found in grape skins and red wine can help destroy pancreatic cancer cells by reaching to the cell's core energy source, or mitochondria, and crippling its function. The study is published in the March edition of the journal, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.
Yet despite widespread interest in antioxidants, some physicians are concerned antioxidants might end up protecting tumors. Okunieff's study showed there is little evidence to support that fear. In fact, the research suggests resveratrol not only reaches its intended target, injuring the nexus of malignant cells, but at the same time protects normal tissue from the harmful effects of radiation.
"Antioxidant research is very active and very seductive right now," Okunieff said. "The challenge lies in finding the right concentration and how it works inside the cell. In this case, we've discovered an important part of that equation. Resveratrol seems to have a therapeutic gain by making tumor cells more sensitive to radiation and making normal tissue less sensitive."
Resveratrol Could Protect Against Stroke
Resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, red wine and peanuts, can improve blood flow in the brain by 30 per cent, thereby reducing the risk of stroke, according to the results of a rat study.
Researchers at the National Taiwan Normal University and the National Chia-Yi University report that rats with induced reduction of blood flow (ischemia) in the brain experienced an improved blood flow from a single dose of resveratrol.
“We found that resveratrol administration… led to cerebral blood flow elevation and protected animals from ischemia-induced neuron loss,” said lead author Kwok Tung Lu.
Strokes occur when blood clots or an artery bursts in the brain and interrupts the blood supply to a part of the brain. It is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in Europe and the US. According to the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE), about 575,000 deaths are stroke related in Europe every year. In the US, every 45 seconds someone will experience a stroke, according to the American Stroke Association.

Red Wine Compound May Extend Life
- Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red wine, extended survival rates of mice and prevented the negative effects of high-calorie diets, says a new study published in Nature.
The study, described by an independent expert as potentially “the breakthrough of the year”, adds to a growing body of research linking resveratrol and red wine consumption to a range of beneficial health effects, including brain and mental health, and cardiovascular health.
"The "healthspan" benefits we saw in the obese mice [fed] resveratrol, such as increased insulin sensitivity, decreased glucose levels, healthier heart and liver tissues, are positive clinical indicators and may mean we can stave off in humans age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, but only time and more research will tell," said co-author David Sinclair from Harvard Medical School.

Red wine again linked to slowing Alzheimer's
A Mount Sinai School of Medicine study found giving mice with amyloid plaques red wine slows their memory loss and brain cell death - adding to a body of science linking compounds in the beverage to slowing the Alzheimer's disease-related symptom.
For several months, the Mount Sinai mice were given cabernet sauvignon or ethanol in their drinking water, while another group of mice drank plain water. All the mice had amyloid plaques in their brains that occur in humans with Alzheimer's disease.
The research team, led by Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, assessed the mice's memory by testing their ability to get out of a maze. The wine-drinking mice were able to exit the maze significantly faster than those drinking alcohol-spiked water or water only, the scientists found.
The study only advocates moderate red wine consumption as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Wine may protect against dementia
There may be constituents in wine that protect against dementia. This is shown in research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
“The group that had the lowest proportion of dementia were those who had reported that the only alcohol they drank was wine,” says Professor Lauren Lissner, who directs the study in collaboration with Professor Ingmar Skoog, both with the Sahgrenska Academy.
Daily Glass of Wine Could Improve Liver Health

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine are challenging conventional thinking with a study showing that modest wine consumption, defined as one glass a day, may not only be safe for the liver, but may actually decrease the prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
The study, which appears in the June 2008 issue of the journal Hepatology, showed that for individuals who reported drinking up to one glass of wine per day, as compared to no alcohol consumption, the risk of liver disease due to NAFLD was cut in half. In contrast, compared with wine drinkers, individuals who reported modest consumption of beer or liquor had over four (4) times the odds of having suspected NAFLD.
NAFLD is the most common liver disease in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults. Previous research has shown that as many as five percent of adults with NAFLD will develop cirrhosis. The major risk factors for NAFLD are similar to many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease—obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown that modest alcohol consumption may reduce the risk for heart disease. However, recommendations for modest alcohol consumption in individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease have overlooked that these same people are also at an increased risk for NAFLD. Thus, there exists a dilemma as to whether modest alcohol consumption for the heart is safe in regards to the liver. The UC San Diego investigators sought to clarify this important question.
“The results of this study present a paradigm shift, suggesting that modest wine consumption may not only be safe for the liver but may actually decrease the prevalence of NAFLD. The odds of having suspected NAFLD based upon abnormal liver blood tests was reduced by 50 percent in individuals who drank one glass of wine a day,” said Jeffrey Schwimmer, M.D., associate professor of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego School of Medicine. The result remained constant, even after adjusting for age, sex, race, education, income, diet, physical activity, body mass index, and other markers of health status.
“Because this effect was only seen with wine, not in beer or liquor, further studies will be needed to determine whether the benefits seen were due to the alcohol or non-alcohol components of wine,” added Schwimmer.
Red wine's resveratrol may help battle obesity
Resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and red wine, reduces the number of fat cells and may one day be used to treat or prevent obesity, according to a new study.
The new finding is consistent with the theory that the resveratrol in red wine explains the French paradox, the observation that French people eat a relatively high-fat diet but have a low death rate from heart disease.
"Resveratrol has anti-obesity properties by exerting its effects directly on the fat cells," Fischer-Posovszky said. "Thus, resveratrol might help to prevent development of obesity or might be suited to treating obesity."
Fischer-Posovszky cautioned that, while the health benefits of resveratrol seem promising, there is not sufficient knowledge about the effects of long-term treatment. One small study found that a single dose of up to 5 grams of resveratrol (much higher than the amount in a bottle of red wine) caused no serious ill effects in healthy volunteers, she pointed out.
Potential new role for red grape seeds in treatment of Alzheimer's disease
Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that polyphenolics derived from red grape seeds may be useful agents to prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Over the past few years researchers at Mount Sinai's Center of Excellence set out to determine whether the FDA's recommended daily servings of red wine (approximately one glass for women and two glasses for men), might have the same positive health effect that studies and surveys of populations had shown in the past. They are currently investigating nearly 5000 compounds contained in red wine.
"Grape seed extracts significantly reduced Alzheimer's disease - type cognitive deterioration. Red grapes might even help prevent memory loss in people that did not yet developed Alzheimer's disease. "
Red Wine Fights Breast Cancer
Early laboratory research has shown that resveratrol, a common dietary supplement, suppresses the abnormal cell formation that leads to most types of breast cancer, suggesting a potential role for the agent in breast cancer prevention. Resveratrol is a natural substance found in red wine and red grapes. It is sold in extract form as a dietary supplement at most major drug stores.
"Resveratrol has the ability to prevent the first step that occurs when estrogen starts the process that leads to cancer by blocking the formation of the estrogen DNA adducts. We believe that this could stop the whole progression that leads to breast cancer down the road," said Eleanor G. Rogan, Ph.D., a professor in the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

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