Wine is a wonderfully appropriate thing for man if, in health as well as in disease, it is administered wisely and justly.
Hippocrates of Cos (Cos, c. 460 BC-Thessaly c. 370 BC) was an Ancient Greek physician who practiced during the so-called Periclean century. He is classified as one of the most prominent figures in the history of medicine, and many authors refer to him as the "father of medicine" in recognition of his important and enduring contributions to this science, making the practice of medicine a true profession.
Wine has been the first documented medicine in history, with Sumerian and Egyptian tablets dated more than two thousand years BC explaining its use to treat various conditions. Today, almost 2.500 years after Hippocrates recommended moderate consumption as part of a healthy diet, wine is still the subject of numerous investigations that attempt to verify its acute perception (1, 2).
Some of the most studied components have been polyphenols due to their antioxidant properties. In red wine, the most important polyphenols are resveratrol, the anthocyanin group, catechins, and tannins. Resveratrol (3, 4, 5 – trihydroxystilbene) is an active principle with cardioprotective effects (3, 4); the most relevant anthocyanin is oein (malvidin-3-o-glucoside) for which beneficial effects at the cardiovascular level have also been described (5); the tannins resulting from the polymerization of flavan-3-ol are also associated with vasoactive effects (6).
Something more controversial has been the study of ethanol on health. While it is clear that high amounts of ethanol are harmful, some studies suggest that moderate amounts of alcohol (5-15 g/day) reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (7). This would explain the apparent paradox of a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases in countries with moderate alcohol consumption such as France or Spain (8).
In any case, there is no doubt that sharing a good wine with friends is a highly recommended experience.
(1) Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection. Lukas Snopek, Jiri Mlcek, Lenka Sochorova, Mojmir Baron, Irena Hlavacova, Tunde Jurikova, Rene Kizek, Eva Sedlackova, Jiri Sochor. Molecules. 2018 Jul; 23(7): 1684. Published online 2018 Jul 11. doi: 10.3390/molecules23071684
(2) Impact of Red Wine Consumption on Cardiovascular Health. Liberale L, Bonaventura A, Montecucco F, Dallegri F, Carbone F. Curr Med Chem. 2019; 26(19):3542-3566.
(3) Resveratrol ameliorates high glucose and high-fat/sucrose diet-induced vascular hyperpermeability involving Cav-1/eNOS regulation. Peng XL, Qu W, Wang LZ, Huang BQ, Ying CJ, Sun XF, Hao LP. PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e113716.
(4) Resveratrol Provides Cardioprotection after Ischemia/reperfusion Injury via Modulation of Antioxidant Enzyme Activities. Mokni M, Hamlaoui S, Karkouch I, Amri M, Marzouki L, Limam F, Aouani E. Iran J Pharm Res. 2013 Fall; 12(4):867-75.
(5) Malvidin, a red wine polyphenol, modulates mammalian myocardial and coronary performance and protects the heart against ischemia/reperfusion injury. Quintieri AM, Baldino N, Filice E, Seta L, Vitetti A, Tota B, De Cindio B, Cerra MC, Angelone T. J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jul; 24(7):1221-31.
(6) Oenology: red wine procyanidins and vascular health. Corder R, Mullen W, Khan NQ, Marks SC, Wood EG, Carrier MJ, Crozier A. Nature. 2006 Nov 30; 444(7119):566.
(7) Alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and death in women: potential mediating mechanisms. Djoussé L, Lee IM, Buring JE, Gaziano JM. Circulation. 2009 Jul 21; 120(3):237-44.
(8) Wine, alcohol, platelets, and the French paradox for coronary heart disease. S. Renaud, PhD , M. de Lorgeril, MD. The Lancet 1992 ; 339 (8808) :1523-1526. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(92)91277-F
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