The Weekly Check-Up Atlanta

Everything in Moderation

Just when you thought you had license to down a bottle of red with dinner every night, new evidence suggests that the message was too good to be true.

Yes, red wine does appear to have some health benefit. As in a previous post, red wine has lots of antioxidants called polyphenols that help prevent damage to the lining of blood vessels which can lead to blocked arteries. Resveratrol is one polyphenol that has gotten lots of attention because it seems to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), prevent clots and some studies had shown that it could cause overweight lab mice to live longer.

However, in a new study published this month, scientists used more rigorous experiments which found that the proposed cellular effects of resveratrol did not lead to an increased life span of lab animals. This has lead some to argue that the claims of the health benefit from red wine had been overstated. Furthermore it has been found that low but steady alcohol intake has been associated with slightly increased rates of breast, head and neck, colon, and liver cancers.

More research is needed to tease out exactly how good or bad red wine is for you, but in the mean time how much red wine should we be drinking or should we have it at all? The USDA recommends that men have no more than two drinks per day on a regular basis while women and men over 65 should have no more than one drink per day regularly. Maybe my grandmother, who wouldn’t know a research rat from a Bunsen burner, had the right idea all along- “everything in moderation.”

Be well,

Dr. Bruce Feinberg