Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

Red Wine Ingredient May Fight COPD

Compound Found in Red Wine May Stall Lung Inflammation
WebMD Health News

Oct. 27, 2003 -- The same ingredient in red wine that makes it healthy for your heart may also be good for your lungs.

A new study shows resveratrol, a compound found in the skins of red fruits such as grapes, may slow down the inflammatory process involved in the lung disease COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

If further studies confirm those results, the compound may eventually offer a new way to treat the irreversible lung disease.

COPD occurs when there is irreversible lung tissue damage, which makes breathing difficult and eventually impossible. Cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for COPD, and the only known way to slow down the progression of the disease is to stop smoking.

Red Wine Extract Slows COPD

Researchers say resveratrol has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to be responsible for many of red wine's health benefits.

Inflammation also plays a key role in COPD. People with the condition have higher than normal levels of cells called macrophages. These macrophages are involved in the inflammatory process, and in the lungs they release powerful chemicals called interleukins, which stimulate the growth and activity of other cells that contribute to lung damage.

To see if resveratrol's anti-inflammatory properties might also slow inflammation in the lung, researchers tested the effects of resveratrol on lung fluid samples taken from 15 smokers and 15 people with COPD in two different experiments.

In the first, the macrophages were artificially spurred into action by an interleukin or cigarette smoke and then resveratrol was added. In the second test, the red wine extract was added without artificial stimulation of the inflammatory process.

Researchers found that resveratrol more than halved the production of interleukin in stimulated samples for both smokers and people with COPD. It also nearly eliminated interleukin production all together in the unstimulated samples.

The results appear in the November issue of the journal Thorax.

Researchers say resveratrol was so effective at reducing inflammatory markers in laboratory tests that the compound may eventually be developed into a new treatment for COPD. But the one disadvantage of using resveratrol in treating COPD may be that it is not easily absorbed by the lungs.

Today on WebMD

man talking to his doctor
Check your COPD risk.
woman using inhaler
What is the top cause of this condition?
chest x-ray
7 early warning signs.
Senior couple stretching
10 exercises for people With COPD.
Bronchitis Overview
Senior woman blowing dandelion
Living With Copd
human lung graphic
Energy Boosting Foods
red heart and ekg
Living With Copd
Senior couple stretching