Red wine makes the heart beat better

2012-06-30 15:56

Looking for an excuse to enjoy a glass, or two, or even three, of red wine every day?

Then medical science has excellent news for you: whether you drink red wine with a high alcohol content or less potent varieties, wine is good for your heart.

A new study conducted by the University of Cape Town has found that reducing the amount of alcohol in red wine does not alter its protective effect on the heart.

Previous clinical studies showed that red wine provides some protection against coronary heart disease, with some studies suggesting that red wine varieties with a higher alcohol content were better heart guards.

Sandrine Lecour, an associate professor at UCT’s department of medicine, put this theory to the test with several colleagues.

They explored whether reducing the alcohol content in wines would alter the drinks’ cardioprotective effect. Three types of French wine – red, rosé and white – were tested on a group of male rats.

Lecour said: “We found that reducing the alcohol content from 12% to 6% in all wines did not alter its cardioprotective effect.”

“This mean that drinking two glasses of red wine with low alcohol content a day may confer the same cardioprotective effect that is found in wines with a higher alcohol content,” she said.

The rats were divided into groups and their drinking water was supplemented – either with 6% or 12% alcohol extracted from red wine – or pure water, depending on the group.

Lecour said: “The aim of extracting alcohol from the red wine was to explore whether it contributes to the cardioprotective effect.”


Ten days after being given the samples, the rats were subjected to a simulated heart attack.

Researchers found that the hearts of rats treated with red wine (whether 6% or 12%) contracted better after the simulated heart ­attack than those of rats from the other groups.

Lecour cautioned that any excess of alcohol was dangerous, but said two or three glasses of red wine each day could help protect the heart.

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