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Impact of Red Wine Consumption on Cardiovascular Health

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Background: The devastating effects of heavy alcohol drinking have been long time recognized. In the last decades, potential benefits of modest red wine drinking were suggested. In European countries in which red wide intake is not negligible (such as France), the association between cholesterol and cardiovascular (CV) risk was less evident, suggesting the action of some protective molecules in red wine or other foods and drinks.

Methods: This narrative review is based on the material searched for and obtained via PubMed up to May 2016. The search terms we used were: “red wine, cardiovascular, alcohol” in combination with “polyphenols, heart failure, infarction”.

Results: Epidemiological and mechanistic evidence of a J-shaped relationship between red wine intake and CV risk further supported the “French paradox”. Specific components of red wine both in vitro and in animal models were discovered. Polyphenols and especially resveratrol largely contribute to CV prevention mainly through antioxidant properties. They exert beneficial effects on endothelial dysfunction and hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic diseases, thus reducing the risk of adverse CV events such as myocardial infarction ischemic stroke and heart failure. Of interest, recent studies pointed out the role of ethanol itself as a potential cardioprotective agent, but a clear epidemiological evidence is still missing. The aim of this narrative review is to update current knowledge on the intracellular mechanism underlying the cardioprotective effects of polyphenols and ethanol. Furthermore, we summarized the results of epidemiological studies, emphasizing their methodological criticisms and the need for randomized clinical trials able to clarify the potential role of red wine consumption in reducing CV risk.

Conclusion: Caution in avowing underestimation of the global burden of alcohol-related diseases was particularly used.
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Keywords: Alcohol; ethanol; flavonoids; polyphenols; red wine; resveratrol

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

This article was made available online on July 24, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Impact of Red Wine Consumption on Cardiovascular Health".

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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