VICUS.COM (07 March 2000) -- Although
wine consumption in moderate amounts is believed to protect against
coronary heart disease, the mechanism is not completely understood.
In order to determine the contribution of the alcohol in wine to
this effect, a group of 10 healthy people drank 113 mL of tap water,
alcohol-free red wine and alcohol- free white wine at one-week
intervals. After each session, measurements were made of their plasma
antioxidant capacity (reported as total radical-trapping
antioxidant parameter (TRAP) ), and whether this response was
associated with increased phenolic compounds in their plasma.
The results presented in the table illustrate that alcohol-free
wine possesses peroxyl-radical scavenger activity in vitro,
with red wine being 20 times more active as measured by TRAP. This
effect is dose-dependent.
Once in the body, wine's
phenolic fraction is precipitated by proteins; however, increasing
amounts of alcohol in wine will partially restore the antioxidant
activity lost as a consequence of this interaction. Thus, the
alcoholic fraction of wine, by reducing the chemical interactions
between proteins and red wine phenolic compounds, may contribute
indirectly to the antioxidant capacity of wine by increasing the
bioavailability of its phenolic compounds.
Alcohol- free Red
40.0 ± 0.1 mmol/L
363 ± 48.0 mg/L
1.9 ± 0.1 mmol/L
Russo, Jr. PharmD, is senior vice president of medical
communications at Vicus.com. He is a pharmacist and medical writer
with more than 20 years of experience in medical education.