Recent investigations on moderate consumption of wine demonstrate its important beneficial effects for our health
Ana Isabel López-Casero, President of the Ciudad Real Board of Pharmacists, has moderated an interesting table on the beneficial effects that moderate consumption of wine can have for our health. In this round table participated prestigious professionals, such as Guzmán Ortuño, Professor Emeritus of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Murcia; Inés Urquiaga, Full Professor of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Department of the Catholic University of Chile; and Manuel Ibarra Lorente, of the Spanish Agency of Medicine.
Guzmán Ortuño opened the turn of interventions by warning on the serious effects that excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can have on our health, to then explain the positive effects that moderate consumption of wine can have, defining the amount that can be consumed on a daily basis with the aim of taking advantage of these beneficial effects. After reviewing a brief history on the consumption of wine and reaching the so-known 'French Paradox', he emphasized that in a study made with 200,000 persons, the results indicated that a total of 100 teetotalers suffered heart attacks, while in the case of moderate consumers of wine the total reached 68.
Ortuño explained the importance of the polyphenols to be found in wine, in particular in red wine, to avoid the oxidation damage suffered by the biological molecules, and the positive effects of moderate consumption of wine, always with meals, to prevent arteriosclerosis, prostate cancer, formation of renal calculus, and likewise to avoid gastritis, peptic ulcer and stomach cancer.
He also explained that it has been verified that wine's effects are very beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimer and vascular deficit, main effects of pathological brain ageing. Thus he recommended that the elderly should regularly consume a glass of wine with their meals to prevent these pathologies, apart from championing the transmission of a wine culture to the younger generation to avoid phenomenons such as the 'botellón' (mass meetings of young people consuming alcohol).
SCIENCE, WINE AND HEALTH PROJECT
On her part, Inés Urquiaga explained the results obtained with the Science, Wine and Health Project, developed during the years ranging from 1997 to 2005, and of the evidence obtained pertaining to the beneficial effects of wine on human health.
Thus she sustained that wine reduces the risk of cardiovascular illness if consumed regularly and in moderation. The latter was made evident upon verifying that the positive effects are even greater in those who regularly consume on or two glasses of wine than in those who only consume wine, although in greater amounts, on weekends for example. Likewise, according to this project, it was demonstrated that the risk of heart attacks in healthy, regular moderate drinkers is lower than in those who drink in excess or in those who never have wine. This situation also favors a reduction in the general risk of mortality due to coronary illness, cancer, vascular dementia, Alzheimer or Type II Diabetes. In that pertaining to the antioxidant effect of the polyphenols, she assured that its properties reduce oxidative damage.
For all that outlined above, she urged a pattern of consumption of one glass a day for women and two for men, during meals, concluding that those who drink wine in this fashion "live longer and enjoy healthier lives".
Finally, Manuel Ibarra also endorsed all that said by the two lecturers before him, although he pointed out that controlled clinical studies must continue to be made. Thus he explained that despite the fact that there have been numerous studies already, it would also be convenient to count with these clinical trials.
Ibarra underscored the protective effect of moderate consumption of alcohol against cardiovascular illness, reminding that different types of polyphenols exist, which act in different ways. He also explained that flavonoids are the most frequent polyphenols to be found in our diet and in wine, that they are powerful antioxidants that can inhibit oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or bad cholesterol), which reduces their atherogenic capacity.
Ana Isabel López-Casero closed the round table explaining that the three lecturers were complementary to each other, with each contributing their own point of view. According to the President of the Board of Pharmacists, our ancestors were not so knowledgeable, yet intuitively they were quite aware of the beneficial effects of consuming wine, which is made more than patent in the tremendous amount of proverbs that exist praising its qualities.