Red Wine Beats Gin for Heart Health
Wine Tops Gin in Fighting Inflammation Linked to Heart Disease
Aug. 13, 2004 -- James Bond may prefer his martinis, but a new
study shows red wine beats gin, shaken or stirred, when it comes to heart
Researchers found drinking moderate amounts of both alcoholic
beverages had beneficial effects in reducing inflammation in the blood, which
has been linked to artery-clogging plaque buildup and heart disease. But red
wine had a significantly greater effect on fighting inflammation in the
"It's clear from these results that while drinking some
form of alcohol lowers inflammatory markers, red wine has a much greater effect
than gin," says Emanuel Rubin, MD, a pathology professor at Jefferson
Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, in a news
Researchers say that many studies have linked drinking alcohol,
especially red wine, to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. But few
studies have compared the effects of different types of alcoholic beverages in
reducing risk factors for heart attack and stroke, such as inflammatory markers
in the blood.
High levels of C-reactive protein and other markers of
inflammation in the blood are risk factors that have been implicated in heart
disease and stroke, says Rubin.
Red Wine Fights Clogged Arteries
In the study, 40 healthy men consumed 30 grams of ethanol
either in the form of two glasses (about 10 ounces) of red wine (Merlot) or 3.3
ounces of gin with dinner each day for 28 days. All of the participants also
followed relatively the same diet and exercise program during the study.
Researchers analyzed blood samples before and after the study,
and found both wine and gin had anti-inflammatory effects.
Both groups had lower levels of fibrinogen, which clots blood
and is a risk factor for heart attack. They also had lower levels of the
inflammatory marker IL-1.
But those who drunk red wine also had lower levels of
C-reactive protein and two other inflammatory markers.
Researchers say the antioxidant effects of the polyphenols
found in red wine, but not in gin, are likely responsible for the additional
heart-healthy effects. Beer and whisky also have high levels of
Rubin says one or two glasses of red wine a day is probably
beneficial, but these results provide only indirect evidence of a protective
effect against heart disease.