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Heart Health

Wine Doesn’t Protect Couch Potatoes from CVD

Evidence suggesting that mild to moderate consumption of wine protects against cardiovascular disease has been accumulating since the early 1990s. Now, however, researchers have shown that wine only protects against cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who exercise. That was the finding of the In Vino Veritas (IVV) study presented at the European Society for Cardiology Congress in Barcelona on August 31st 2014 by Professor Milos Taborsky from the Czech Republic.

A release from the society quotes Professor Taborsky as saying, “This is the first randomized trial comparing the effects of red and white wine on markers of atherosclerosis in people at mild to moderate risk of CVD. We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results.”

Retrospective studies have found that wine increases levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. But until now there has been no long-term, prospective, randomized study comparing the effects of red and white wine on HDL cholesterol and other markers of atherosclerosis.

The IVV study is the first long-term, prospective randomized trial comparing the effect of red and white wine on markers of atherosclerosis. The study included 146 people with mild to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease according to the HeartScore. Participants were randomized to one year of moderate consumption of red wine (Pinot Noir) or white wine (Chardonnay-Pinot) from the same year and wine region of the Czech Republic.

Moderate consumption was the World Health Organization definition of 0.2 liters or 6.7 ounces for women and 0.3 liters or 10 ounces for men, a maximum of five times a week. The primary endpoint was the level of HDL cholesterol at one year. Secondary endpoints were levels of other markers of atherosclerosis including LDL cholesterol. Participants consumed their usual diet.

Participants kept a logbook on their consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages, medication use, and amount and type of exercise. They were required to return the corks from the wine bottles to confirm that they had drunk the wine rather than sold it.

The researchers found that there was no difference between HDL cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study compared to one year in either the red or white wine groups. LDL cholesterol was lower in both groups at one year while total cholesterol was lower only in the red wine group.

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