Before menopause, women are affected less frequently than men by cardiovascular diseases. But with the hormonal changes (and increasing age) this advantage is lost. The risk increases significantly, which is also noticeable in the changing cholesterol values. Spanish researchers examined in a sub-group of the PREDIMED study whether post-menopausal women at high risk for cardiovascular diseases might benefit from moderate wine consumption. They selected 222 postmenopausal women who indicated at the beginning of the study that they consume wine regularly. Various glucose and lipid parameters (triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol) were analysed in the blood samples of the participants.
Approximately 45% of the 60- to 80-year-old women specified that they drink wine and 40% of them consume it daily. However, the data from food questionnaires are often inaccurate, especially with regards to alcoholic beverages. To acquire more exact data, the researchers analysed tartaric acid (*) in urine samples. In quantitative terms, tartaric acid is the most important organic acid in wine and the excreted amount in the urine is a reliable biomarker for wine consumption.
More tartaric acid, lower cholesterol values
The analyses confirmed that there was a direct and linear correlation between the level of the urinary tartaric acid and the wine consumption indicated in the questionnaire.
Since the participating women were at high risk for cardiovascular diseases – there were many diabetics, individuals with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels – the researchers looked for an association between these risk factors and the urinary tartaric acid as biomarker for wine consumption.
No association with anthropometric parameters (body weight, Body Mass Index, hip and waist circumference), blood pressure and blood glucose was found. However, urinary tartaric acid concentrations – as objective biomarker of wine intake – were associated with significantly lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol. These findings support the notion that wine intake has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular health of postmenopausal women, since its biomarker tartaric acid was associated with lower total and LDL cholesterol.
Randomized-controlled trials are needed to confirm these results and determine the impact of moderate wine consumption on cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women.
(*) Tartaric acid is an organic substance that occurs naturally in various plants, fruits and wine.
Source: Domínguez-López I, Parilli-Moser I, Arancibia-Riveros C, Tresserra-Rimbau A, Martínez-González MA, Ortega-Azorín C, Salas-Salvadó J, Castañer O, Lapetra J, Arós F, Fiol M, Serra-Majem L, Pintó X, Gómez-Gracia E, Ros E, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Estruch R. Urinary Tartaric Acid, a Biomarker of Wine Intake, Correlates with Lower Total and LDL Cholesterol. Nutrients. 2021 Aug 22;13(8):2883. doi: 10.3390/nu13082883. PMID: 34445043; PMCID: PMC8399930.
For more information about this abstract, click here.