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Red Wine Healthier For Your Heart Than Gin

The next time you have a choice between a glass of red wine and a drink mixed with gin, if you're looking out for your heart, I recommend the wine.

A recent study compared the effects of drinking either red wine or gin on several biochemical markers in the blood. This was the first time a clinical trial compared the effect of red wine to alcoholic beverages with low levels of non-alcoholic substances, such as polyphenols.

Red wine contains many complex compounds including polyphenols, which are absent from gin. Scientists found drinking red wine had a much greater effect in lowering levels in the bloodstream of anti-inflammatory substances that are risk factors in the development of heart disease and stroke.

While there are well-known associations between alcohol and a lowered risk of heart attack and stroke, researchers have found that breaking down the data epidemiologically has been difficult. To find evidence related to alcohol's effect in reducing heart attack and stroke, scientists turned to substitute markers of disease. Inflammation has long been implicated in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

The research team compared the effects of red wine and gin on the levels of inflammatory biomarkers in the blood, including adhesion molecules, chemokines and white blood cells that are related to atherosclerosis.

Both wine and gin showed anti-inflammatory effects. Both groups also had reduced levels of fibrinogen which clots blood but is not an inflammatory marker, and IL-1, which is. Raised levels of fibrinogen are a risk factor for heart attack. But red wine also dramatically lowered the levels of inflammatory molecules such as adhesion molecules, and proteins in monocytes and lymphocytes.

Medical News Net August 12, 2004

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