Red Wine Ingredient May Fight COPD
Compound Found in Red Wine May Stall Lung Inflammation
WebMD News Archive
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
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
The results appear in the November issue of the journal
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