Red wine and cardiovascular health the "French Paradox" revisited
Giuseppe Lippi1, Massimo Franchini2, Gian Cesare Guidi3
1U.O. di Diagnostica Ematochimica, 2Servizio di Immunoematologia e Trasfusione, Dipartimento di Patologia e Medicina di Laboratorio, Azienda Ospedaliero, Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy; 3Sezione di Chimica Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy
Abstract: The healthful and nutritive properties of wine have been acknowledged for thousands of years, but the observation that moderate consumption of red wine on a regular basis may be preventative against coronary disease is recent. Dr Renaud, a scientist working at the Bordeaux University in France, suggested wine consumption explains the “French Paradox”, the low incidence of heart attacks in France regardless of a remarkable dietary intake of saturated fats and alcohol. After nearly 20 years of research, there is now mounting evidence that light to moderate wine intake is beneficial for the cardiovascular health, acting through a variety of mechanisms that target all the crucial steps of atherosclerosis, from early formation of the atherosclerotic plaque to its life-threatening complications (ulceration, thrombosis, vessel occlusion and infarction). These effects are attributable to the synergic properties of several biochemical components of wine (alcohol, resveratrol, and especially polyphenolic compounds), particularly the red varieties. This article reviews the leading clinical observations and the hypothesized biological mechanisms that strongly support the cardiovascular benefits of moderate red wine consumption on cardiovascular health and that would make red wine a promising therapeutic supplement to prevent and even perhaps treat coronary artery disease.
Keywords: wine, cardiovascular disease, coronary disease, atherosclerosis
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