As you are probably aware, there have been numerous articles in the medical literature in the last several years touting the benefits of red wine when it comes to heart disease and reducing mortality from all causes. In fact one study indicated people that consumed several glasses per day of red wine had a reduction in all cause mortality.
Amazing! Could there be similar benefits of red wine for brain function?
In the latest addition of the prestigious journal Neurology, researchers from Denmark attempted to assess whether a particular amount or type of alcohol was associated with the risk of dementia. Approximately 1,700 individuals over the age of 65 were involved in the evaluation. It was found that prior average weekly total alcohol intake had no significant effect on the risk of dementia. Weekly intake of wine was significantly associated with a lower risk of dementia. Interestingly, for those individuals who drank beer and spirits, a monthly intake of beer was significantly associated with an increased risk of dementia.
The study concluded that monthly and weekly intake of wine was associated with a lower risk of dementia. The researchers, however, did not advocate that people start drinking excessive amounts of wine to avoid dementia; but rather they suggested there may be certain substances in the wine that may reduce the incidence of dementia.
Red wine is powerful
Red wine has many important elements. It contains powerful antioxidants called bioflavanoids. One of the best studied is quercetin. There are numerous studies published on quercetin indicating significantly reduced risk of heart disease and stroke with increased quercetin consumption; 100 – 200 mg per day appears to be optimal. Red wine also contains substances known as polyphenols which inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol, reduce platelet stickiness (which can lead to clotting within arteries), etc. One extremely powerful polyphenol in red wine is known as resveratrol. Green tea also contains similar protective antioxidants.
I certainly enjoy having a glass of red wine from time to time. It is probably unreasonable, however, for most people to be drinking red wine on a daily basis. As a healthy alternative, I would strongly recommend standardized red wine extract, grape seed extract (Activin is the best standardized form with numerous studies behind it) and standardized green tea extract. In fact some studies indicate grape seed extract is a far more powerful antioxidant when compared to Vitamin C, E or Beta Carotene.
Resources & Further Reading: