I just heard a reputed vegan doctor assert that wine increases bad fat, spikes inflammation and is a major risk factor for CVD. Thus, in this blog-article, ill review some of the facts regarding this topic (Section A) and in a second section, mention how wine should be used (Section B).
Debunking the Myth that moderate quality wine is bad for Cardio-vascular Diseases
As mentioned elsewhere, the science has shown for over 30 years that NOT drinking wine in moderation is a greater risks of ALL causes of premature death, including from CVD (cardiovascular disease) than drinking wine. (Source). Scientists who use their MD title to claim the contrary will either invoked flawed studies or misinterpret them. These doctors also speak of wine as “alcohol”, as if alcohol is the “devil”. This is like speaking about spinash as “arsenic”, just because there is some arsenic in spinach. Or apricot seeds or almonds as cyanide, just because there’s some of these molecules in these plants, molecules that the body can find useful, as a healthy diversity is the name of the game regarding healthy nutrition.
So to get to the debunking of this doctor’s allegation, one of the primary ways red wine decreases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is by improving both the HDL and LDL cholesterol. There are multiple ways that quality red wine, in low to moderate amounts, can affect human cholesterol.
First off, it increases the good cholesterol called HDL Increasing HDL helps lower the risk of heart disease because the HDL binds with cholesterol in the body’s tissues to escort it out of the body and removes fatty deposits in the walls of large blood vessels. To corroborate this claim, consider this study which should that in 45 postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, 13.5 ounces (400 mL) per day of red wine for six weeks was enough to reduced fasting LDL cholesterol concentrations by 8 percent and increased HDL cholesterol concentrations by 17 percent. (1)
Next argument, moderate red wine consumption lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol. In this perspective, researchers from the University of Bourgogne in Dijon, France, tested the effect of red wine on cholesterol levels in patients who had recently been hospitalized after myocardial infarction. For a two-week period, half the patients received 8.5 ounces (250 mL) of red wine daily while the other half received water along with a Mediterranean-style diet. Even in this relatively short amount of time, both total and LDL cholesterol levels significantly decreased in the red wine group but not the water group. Antioxidant status of those in the red wine group also increased substantially. (2)
Red wine in moderation also increases the size of LDL particles while decreasing oxidized LDL. (3) Both the size of LDL and its oxidation with free radicals are important factors in the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis (the formation of plaques in arterial walls is the main underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes. The detection of small-sized or oxidized LDL particles in the bloodstream is correlated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Red wine in moderation helps to mitigate this risk. (4) Furthermore, red wine consumption has been found to lower lipoprotein (3), this molecule is a dangerous cholesterol-like particle that penetrates the blood vessel wall and leads to plaque formation, causing atherosclerosis. A study in the UK comparing red wine to white wine in healthy volunteers found that 10 days of 6.8 ounces (200 mL) red wine not only significantly lowered LDL cholesterol and reduced the size of LDL, but the short intervention with red wine also dramatically lowered lipoprotein (a) levels. (ibid)
And contrarily to what this vegan doctor claimed, red wine in moderation lowers C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of chronic, low-grade, body-wide inflammation. High CRP levels are strongly correlated with cardiovascular disease and other diseases related to chronic inflammation. Inflammation, like oxidative stress, is another key factor involved in the formation of arterial plaques and the development of atherosclerosis. People who have high LDL or low HDL along with high levels of inflammation as measured by CPR are known to be at significantly greater risk of heart disease. One study in healthy women found that CRP levels decreased more than 25 percent after drinking 3.4 ounces (100 mL) of red wine twice a day for four weeks. The women’s HDL cholesterol also increased significantly. (5)
How to drink wine
To get the advantages of red wine for cholesterol, it’s important to drink in moderation and regularly. This does not mean that one should get addicted to “alchohol”, it just means that quality wine in moderation is one of the healthiest beverages, especially when it is consumed with animal foods. Thanks to its synergistic element, wine can actually mitigate some of the animal foods deleterious effects. But the dosage is important. Men should drink from a half a glass to max two glasses per day, while women half that amount. This is because women dont have as many alcohol break-down enzymes as men. Drinking with meals is best and during the lunch period. For some people, drinking at night can perturb deep sleep. Drinking just table spoons of wine and or diluting the wine in water can also be indicated as an platelet aggregation inhibiter. The polyphenols in red wine also help with the decrease of blood pressure, reduces lipid oxidation, activates cell proteins, and, among other benefits, enhance the ability of blood vessels to relax and dilate while thining the blood. Most people who see conventional cardiologists will take aspirin for this purpose.
But then, with aspirin, there’s the risk of ulcers and bleeding and other side effects while with wine, there are none, provided the dose is therapeutic and the wine is either organic or known to use quality standards in both its viticulture and vinification aspects.
Christian Joubert (HMI director)