The results of a recent study showed that moderate red wine consumption can positively affect the blood flow parameters of healthy volunteers. This evidence can help to explain the French paradox.
Several epidemiological studies have ascertained that regular and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and have observed a J-shaped association as a function of alcohol intake. This J-curve has also been shown between alcohol intake and total mortality with the lowest at 2-4 drinks/d for men and 1-2 drinks/d for women. In contrast, binge drinking is associated with an increased CVD risk. The favourable effect of wine may be due to its alcohol content and its phenolic components. The current study examined the effect of moderate red wine consumption on various blood flow (hemorheological) parameters such as blood viscosity, deformability and red blood cell (RBC) aggregation in healthy volunteers. The authors conclude that the current study confirmed their previous in vitro findings about the positive effect of red wine on erythrocyte aggregation. The increased RBC deformability (*) and a higher calculated oxygen carrying capacity may also be part of the cardiovascular protection observed in moderate wine drinkers.
Toth A, Sandor B, Papp J, Rabai M, Botor D, Horvath Zs, Kenyeres P, Juricskay I, Toth K, Czopf L, Moderate red wine consumption improves hemorheological parameters in healthy volunteers, 2014 Clin Hemorheology and Microcirculation 56, 13-23.
For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.
(*) RBC deformability refers to the ability of red blood cells (erythrocytes, RBC) to change shape under a given level of applied stress, without rupturing. This is an important property because erythrocytes must change their shape extensively under the influence of mechanical forces in fluid flow or while passing through microcirculation.