In the last 20 years there have been more and more evidence that small to moderate amounts of red wine have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease. Several reasons have been discussed, such as the wine’s antioxidant properties and its ability to expand blood vessels. Several studies have also shown that wine increases levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
During the annual Heart Congress in Barcelona came the startling news of a major Czech study showing that wine only protects against cardiovascular disease in people who exercise.
The results were presented by Professor Milos Taborsky and is part of a large study called “In vino veritas“, the wines are the truth. The research team also compared the effects of red and white wine, and found that both were equally effective in reducing the signs of atherosclerosis.
The study is the first to compare the effects of red and white wine on markers of atherosclerosis. The study included 146 people with mild to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomly selected for one year moderate consumption of red wine or white wine. Moderate consumption of the World Health Organization definition as 0.2 liters for women and 0.3 liters for men, more than five times a week. Participants completed a logbook of their consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages, medication, and the amount and type of exercise.
The results showed that HDL–cholesterol increased only in a subgroup of participants who exercised regularly at least twice a week. In participants who exercised less or nothing, they found no change in HDL cholesterol caused by wine drinking. Professor Taborsky concluded: “Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wining plus regular exercise reduces signs of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease.”
Anja Bye, post doctor at CERG