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Effect of red wine consumption on lipoprotein (a) and other risk factors for atherosclerosis

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 101-108 First published online: 1 February 1995


Epidemiological studies have pointed to the role of alcohol, and red wine in particular, in reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease. This study attempted to distinguish, in vivo, the effects of components specific to red wine and those of alcohol on lipoproteins, antioxidant status and membrane fluidity. Volunteers (n=20) were given 200 ml of red wine per day for 10 days. Following a 6-week washout, this was repeated with white wine. Changes within treatment groups were analysed by paired t tests and repeated measures analysis of variance was used to distinguish effects of red wine components and alcohol. LDL was prepared by ultracentrifugation and all other assays were by conventional laboratory techniques. No effect with either treatment was detected on total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or measures of antioxidant status, including the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation. Red wine reduced LDL cholesterol (p<0.01), and both treatments reduced LDL apo B (p<0.01) and increased LDL chohapo B ratio (p<0.01), implying an increase in LDL size. Potential anti-atherogenic changes specific to red wine were reduction in lipoprotein (a) (p< 0.001) and increased membrane fluidity (p<0.01). These results are not in keeping with the proposed role of red wine components in free-radical protection, but the reduction in lipoprotein (a) merits further investigation.

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