A new study from researchers in Australia shows that drinking red wine increases the bloods antioxidant status and decreases oxidative stress in the young and old.
20 young (18-30 yrs) and 20 older (greater than or equal to 50 yrs) volunteers subjects consumed 400 mL/day of Cabernet Sauvignon for two weeks. Their blood samples were taken before and after red wine intake and analyzed for whole blood glutathione (GSH), plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) and serum total antioxidant status.
Glutathione is a peptide synthesized in the liver, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from toxins such as free radicals. Malondialdehyde is a product of lipid peroxidation by free radicals, and is a biomarker for the oxidative stress of an organism.
Why Red Wine?
Red wine contains a rich supply of many antioxidants. There are anthocyanins, polyphenols and phenolic acids in spades. It is also known from epidemiological studies that reduced mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and moderate and high consumption levels of red wine are correlated. It also goes great with a nice medium-rare porterhouse steak.
Researchers Micallef , Lexis and Lewandowski (from the University of Newcatle, Victoria University and Deakin University, respectively) found that consumption of red wine induced significant increases in plasma total antioxidant status (P<0.03), and significant decreases in plasma MDA (P<0.001) and GSH (P<0.004) in young and old subjects.
The results show that the consumption of 400 mL/day of red wine for two weeks, significantly increases antioxidant status and decreases oxidative stress in the circulation. Their conclusion-
“red wine provides general oxidative protection and to lipid systems in circulation via the increase in antioxidant status.”
The study was published Sept. 24, 2007 in the online journal Nutrition Journal.
A few related studies that seem to add to this evidence:
1. Ingestion of red wine significantly increases plasma phenolic acid concentrations but does not acutely affect ex vivo lipoprotein oxidizability. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000 Jan (Department of Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, The University of Western Australia, and The West Australian Heart Research Institute, Perth, Western Australia.)
2. Phenolic content of various beverages determines the extent of inhibition of human serum and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro: identification and mechanism of action of some cinnamic acid derivatives from red wine. Clinical Science 1996 Oct (Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Perth.)
3. Red wine polyphenols, in the absence of alcohol, reduce lipid peroxidative stress in smoking subjects. Free Radical Biology and Mediione. 2001 Mar 15 (Department of Medicine (Royal Perth Hospital), The University of Western Australia and The West Australian Heart Research Institute, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.)
4. Dealcoholized red wine decreases atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E gene-deficient mice independently of inhibition of lipid peroxidation in the artery wall. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004 Jan (Heart Research Institute, Camperdown, Australia)
Hmm. Sure is a lot of red wine research coming out of Australia. My inner paranoid conspiracy theorist is telling me the Australian wine industry is behind this. (Just kidding- the authors of this study declare they are free of competing interests, and I have no reason to disbelieve them)
The evidence is piling up that wines rich in phenols wield a powerful antioxidant effect. Just dont overdo it. Cheers, mate!