Introduction in comparison to a number of other. It



There have
been continuous debates on the effects of wine on heart health. There are

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numbers of studies trying to prove or disprove this theory. This debate stems


the ‘French
Paradox’ observation that French people have a moderately low rate of coronary


heart disease
(CHD), whilst having a diet quite rich in saturated fats. The paradox is that
if the


suggesting saturated fats to CHD is valid, the French should have a much higher
rate of


CHD in
comparison to a number of other.  It has
been suspected that France’s high red wine


is a primary factor in this reduced rate of CHD. This theory was heightened in


minute broadcast in 1991.(ref) The broadcast sparked a large increase in North


for the
demand red wines from around the world.


beginning this study a number of aspects of wine need to be considered; the
alcohol, the


level of
antioxidants and the concertation of congeners. Quite a number of studies need


be compared
and contrasted in order to form a reasonable theory. It is important to look


both the
negative effects as well as the positive effects. Practical experiments on
subjects are


in comparing results as well as research papers.


























The Effect of Red and
White Wine on your Health and Heart.


looking at the effects of red and white wine on your health, it is necessary to
look at


the alcohol
content in wine itself. There are quite a number of studies on alcohols effect


the body
and all come to the same conclusion that simply, excessive amounts of alcohol


detrimental to one’s health.



component of alcohol that gets you drunk is ethyl alcohol. As soon as alcohol
is taken it


travels to
your stomach and accesses your bloodstreami.1
Only 2 to 8 percent is lost in


sweat and
urine. However the other 92-98% is metabolised in your body. Your body sees


alcohol as
a poison, as it cannot be stored and wants to break it down. All ethyl alcohol


is broken
down is converted to acetaldehyde by the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme.2


The alcohol
dehydrogenase molecules are most active primarily in the stomach and the


liver. Traces
can be found in other tissues also. The hydrogen which is released when


alcohol dehydrogenase
turns alcohol into acetaldehyde binds to a compound called NAD+ (


Adenine Dinucleotide) to form NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide   


with Hydrogen).2





dehydrogenase works from the mitochondria of cells. It works by removing a


atom from acetaldehyde which then produces acetic acid, again forming NADH as


seen simply
above in Figure 1.


There are
quite a number of aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes found in the body. The one


we are
looking at is ALDH2, which is the main active enzyme to convert acetaldehyde to


acid. Another aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme found in the body called ALDH2*2, is


only about
eight percent as efficient as ALDH2 in breaking down acetaldehyde. 2  It was


found that
some of the East Asian population have ALDH2*2 rather ALDH2 in their bodies.


individuals find the effect of alcohol to be more extreme than ALDH2 carriers. The


dehydrogenase enzymes are in high concentration in the liver but can be found


amounts in other tissues of the body.


The degree of lipid
accumulation depends on the supply of dietary fat. Gradual alteration of


mitochondria, which only
occurs during chronic alcohol consumption, lowers levels of fatty acid


oxidation by
interrupting the citric acid cycle activity. Due to this interference,


amounts of ketone
bodies are formed which results in ketonemia. 3


Examples of these
ketone bodies are shown below in figure 2;





Fig 2                                                             Fig


Ketone bodies are
normally used as energy for the body by forming two GTP and twenty-two


ATP molecules for
every acetoacetate molecule when oxidation occurs in the mitochondria.  


Ketone bodies are
transported from the liver to other tissues, where acetoacetate and beta-


hydroxybutyrate can be
reconverted to acetyl-CoA via the citric acid cycle. However as


mentioned above excessive
amounts of alcohol alter the mitochondria and interfere with this


cycle. 3


The heart
preferentially utilizes fatty acids as fuel under normal physiologic


However, under ketotic
conditions, the heart can effectively utilize ketone bodies for this


purpose. However, the mitochondrial
damage preserves fatty acid build up even in the absence


of ethanol oxidation.4
Alcohol facilitates esterification of the accumulated fatty acids to


phospholipids, and cholesterol esters, all of which accumulate in the liver.


encourages the accumulation
of Low density lipoproteins (“bad cholesterol”) which deliver fat


molecules to the cells
and can encourage the progression of atherosclerosis if they become


oxidized within the
walls of arteries. 5 Moderate alcohol consumption is said to
actually have


the opposite effect
and raise the amount of High density lipoproteins (“good cholesterol”).


The case of alcohol
has been extensively studied, but the key question is whether wine offers


additional benefits?



Despite the alcohol
content wine has a number of benefits. This is known as the “French


Paradox” which refers to the observation that the French
suffer a relatively low incidence of


heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. 6


was first noted by Irish physician Samuel Black in 1819.


During our studies, we
found this to be true (in moderation).


Wine contains a number
of antioxidants which inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. They


are free radical
scavengers. 7 Oxidation reactions result in the production of free


which are a highly
reactive species that commence chain reactions (domino effect) that damage


healthy cells.
Antioxidants inhibit these reactions from occurring by getting rid of the free


radical intermediates,
and prevent any side oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves.


8 Antioxidants are seen as reducing agents for
example thiols or polyphenols such as


Resveratrol. In this
case they prevent the oxidation of the fatty acids in the walls of the arteries


which cause
cholesterol as explained above in alcohols effects. In wine, these antioxidants


naturally occurring.6
The Mayo Clinic, 9 speculates that it is the polyphenol


resveratrol that “Might
be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood


vessels, reduces
low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and


blood clots. Some
research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of


inflammation and blood
clotting, which can lead to heart disease. But
other studies found no


benefits from
resveratrol in preventing heart disease.” 9



Fig:  4 (ref)                                                                   



are a type of antibiotics formed by plants when under threat by pathogens such


types of
fungus or bacteria. 6 Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced
organically by a number of


plants including
grape vines. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red


I came
across a study which stated that “The red wine phenolics trans-resveratrol and


block human platelet aggregation and eicosanoid synthesis: Implications for


against coronary heart disease” 10. This particular study analysed
the effects of


on human platelet aggregation and on the synthesis of three eicosanoids


are signalling molecules that are formed by the enzymatic or non-enzymatic


of arachidonic acid or different types polyunsaturated fatty acids) from


platelets. The study came to the conclusion that  trans-Resveratrol prevented the synthesis


of TxB2(
thromboxane), HHT(hydroxyheptadecatrienoate), and 12-HETE


from arachidonate depending on the dosage. 10 Alcohol free red


wines inhibited
platelet aggregation. Their ability to impede the synthesis of TxB2 but not


of 12-HETE
from arachidonate by human platelets was proportional to their


These results are consistent with the notion that trans-resveratrol may


to the suspected protective role of red wine against atherosclerosis and


Disease. 11



Fig 6



There is a
large phenolic contents in red wine especially, resveratrol for one but wine


flavonols. For example the flavanol quercetin.  A study done to prove that wine


protect against LDL oxidation and Atherosclerosis 12 showed that


intake of
red wine (but not of white wine) by healthy volunteers, resulted in the enhancement


of their
plasma LDL with flavonoid antioxidants such as quercetin, the potent free


flavanol, which binds to the LDL through a glycosidic ether bond.


determine the effect of red wine consumption on atherosclerosis, mice were
used. In the


mice, red
wine consumption for two months resulted in a forty percent decrease in basal


oxidation, similarly
a decline in LDL oxidizability and aggregation and a thirty five percent


in lesion size. Red wine consumption resulted in build-up of flavonoids in the


and the cells oxidized LDL and took up LDL about forty percent less than


from placebo-treated mice.12 The study concluded that red wine


against the accumulation of oxidized LDL in lesions as a first line of defense
(by a direct


of LDL oxidation), and as a second line of defense (by paraoxonase elevation


removal of
atherogenic lesion’s and lipoprotein’s oxidized lipids).


are a type of polymer chains of flavonoids such as catechins (plant


metabolite).6 Also known as OPCs (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins),


and leucoanthocyanin. They are found in several plants, grape seeds and skins.


The beneficial
effects of proanthocyanidins include neutralizing oxidants and free radicals,


the destruction of collagen (the most abundant protein in the body) and


fat in the
blood. Some research indicates that the vascular benefits of red wine drinking



on the
presence of oligomeric proanthocyanidins.13


studies have shown that OPCs may prevent cardiovascular disease by relieving


negative effects of high cholesterol on the heart and blood vessels. 14


                                             Fig 7:


                                                        Fig 8:



The health
benefits of resveratrol on humans have yet to be physically proven. In mouse


experiments, blood-sugar-lowering, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and other


effects of resveratrol and flavanols have been reported. The majority of these


have yet to be performed on humans.


there have been a number of studies which analyse the effects of wine itself on


health and
heart compared to other alcoholic beverages. A study done on the impact of


wine consumption on health15, looked at both resveratrol and
flavan-3-ol and


came to the
conclusion that the balance of moderate wine intake was beneficial and that


reasonable agreement in beneficial effects of moderate wine consumption in


disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, possibly neurological diseases.


A basic
study on wine and your heart 16 did not carry out any practical
research but analysed


a number references
similar to the point of this project. Following a number of cross


it was found that moderate intake of alcoholic beverages is associated with a


reduced risk
of CHD in populations.


A study on
the mortality associated with moderate intakes of wine, beer or spirits


the conclusions from the previous studies.17 They completed a
practical study


on 6051 men
and 7234 women aged 30 to 70. The study came to the conclusion from their


research that low to moderate consumption of wine is associated with lower


from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. The same consumption of


an increased risk. However beer did not result in any change on mortality.17


Alcohol in
small doses is assumed to protect against ischaemic heart disease. In this


drinkers of
three to five glasses of wine a day had half the risk of dying as those who


drank wine.
Beer and spirit drinkers experienced no such advantages, and three to five
drinks of


spirits a
day was associated with increased mortality.17



White wine
has more or less the same health benefits as red wine. We noticed a lack of


research on
the effects of white wine on your heart and health to the effects of white


Making it
that bit more difficult to answer the question; Which is better, Red or White


White wine
has many of the same positive health benefits as red wine.  It, too, contains


that have antioxidant properties, which can help prevent cancer. 18


White wine
is also suspected to have the ability to protect the heart against aging
according to


a study
carried out by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine 19.
The cardio


effects of red wine have been accredited to several polyphenolic antioxidants


example resveratrol
and proanthocyanidins. The aim of the their study was to determine


white wines could also provide protection to the heart and surrounding
arteries. Like


many of the
study to date, this analysis was carried out on rats. The results of the study


that out of the three different white wines that were analysed, only one of the


showed cardiovascular protection which was showed improved ventricular recovery


with controls.19


There are
fewer numbers of antioxidants in white wine than red wine. The reason for this


 that red wine grapes are fermented with the
seeds and skins which are rich in tannins and



Fig 9



As seen in
Figure 9  the presence of anthocyannins,
flavan-3-ols and flavanols


are found
in the skin of the grape. Resveratrol is found in the seeds. From this alone we


that maybe red wine is that little bit better for you than white wine due to the


content of
polyphenolic compounds providing antioxidant properties.



Red wine
contains lower levels of congeners that white wine. In the alcoholic drinks


are substances produced during the fermentation process.20 These substances


small amounts of chemicals such as methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, esters,


aldehydes. Congeners are accountable for the majority of the taste and aroma of


drinks. It
has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a


Congeners are in high concentration in dark beverages such a red wine, whiskey


bourbon. They are in much lower concentration in vodka, white wine and gin.
There were

studies on congeners in red wine vs white but a study on ‘Hangovers and Whiskey


Congeners’ 22
preformed a clinical study on 68 non-drinkers and moderate alcohol


The study
revealed that the hangover symptoms were non-existent for the same quantities


vodka compared
to whiskey. It was found that the whiskey congeners slow the metabolism of


alcohol and
prolong the action and after effects. This study in fact confirmed that, in


amounts of vodka, vodka caused a less sever hangover. One particular


methanol, can break down into to formaldehyde and formic acid which worsen a


hangover as
they are toxic substances which cause nausea and headaches. 21



In a brief
conclusion it might be valid to say that maybe a glass of wine a day may keep


away! (always in moderation). As for white wine, many of the positive effects
of red

wine are
too seen in white wine. It is just the lower levels of antioxidants and
resveratrol in


white wine
that make red wine that make it that little bit more beneficial to one’s health


to red wine
being fermented with the seeds and skins).









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King-Thom Chung, Tit Yee Wong, Cheng-I
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R. Pace-Asciak, Susah Hahn, The Red Wine
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Pages 207-219.

11.  Steinberg
D, Antioxidants and Atherosclerosis: A Current Assessment, 1991, Circulation
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12.   Michael Aviram, Bianca Furham, Wine Flavanoids
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13.  Mario
Dell’Agli, Alessandra Busciala, Enrica Bosisio, Vascular Effects of Wine
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Goldberg, Lori Mosca, Mariann R. Piano, Wine and Your Heart: A Science Advisory for
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J, Tosaki A, Bertelli AA, Betelli A, Cardioprotection With White Wine, 2002,
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22.  Frederic
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