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Health Effects of Red Wine Consumption: A Narrative Review of an Issue That Still Deserves Debate

Nutrients. 2023 Apr 16;15(8):1921.


A strong controversy persists regarding the effect of red wine (RW) consumption and health. Guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancers discourage alcohol consumption in any form, but several studies have demonstrated that low RW intake may have positive effects on CVD risk. This review evaluated randomised controlled trials (RCTs), examining the recent literature on the correlations between acute and chronic RW consumption and health. All RCTs published in English on PubMed from 1 January 2000 to 28 February 2023 were evaluated. Ninety-one RCTs were included in this review, seven of which had a duration of more than six months. We assessed the effect of RW on: (1) antioxidant status, (2) cardiovascular function, (3) coagulation pathway and platelet function, (4) endothelial function and arterial stiffness, (5) hypertension, (6) immune function and inflammation status, (7) lipid profile and homocysteine levels, (8) body composition, type 2 diabetes and glucose metabolism, and (9) gut microbiota and the gastrointestinal tract. RW consumption mostly results in improvements in antioxidant status, thrombosis and inflammation markers, lipid profile, and gut microbiota, with conflicting results on hypertension and cardiac function. Notably, beneficial effects were observed on oxidative stress, inflammation, and nephropathy markers, with a modest decrease in CVD risk in five out of seven studies that evaluated the effect of RW consumption. These studies were conducted mainly in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and had a duration between six months and two years. Additional long-term RCTs are needed to confirm these benefits, and assess the potential risks associated with RW consumption.

Keywords: antioxidants; body composition; body weight; cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus; inflammation; type 2.


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