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D.iet & H.ealth : H.eart & B.lood Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

Red wine can help prevent stroke damage?
By Jimmy Downs
Oct 15, 2006, 15:19

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By Jimmy Downs
Hicenter contributor

Reuters published an article on Oct 15 suggesting that "red wine might work to protect the brain from damage after a stroke and drinking a couple of glasses a day might provide that protection ahead of time."

The suggestion is based on an animal study of a compound found in red wine known as resveratrol. For now, readers should refrain from believing that drinking wine does indeed render such a benefit.

Reuters reported that in the study, Sylvain Dore from Johns Hopkins University and colleagues found that mice pretreated with resveratrol had their stroke-induced brain damage reduced by about 40 percent.

The results certainly point to a possibility that resveratrol, not red wine may also work for humans. However, it may be too early at this time to suggest drinking wine may reduce brain damage in humans caused by strokes.

There are a few factors to consider. First, the study used pure resveratrol, not red wine, meaning the concentration in red wine may not be high enough to have an effect. According to the article, humans need to drink two glasses of red wine a day to have the effect if resveratrol does work for humans.

Second, just because resveratrol works for mice does not mean it works for humans. Earlier studies have found that although resveratrol shows many health benefits, it breaks down too quickly in humans, losing its supposed effect.

The worse concern is alcohol. Unsuspecting consumers may not realize that alcoholic beverages are actually carcinogenic as recognized by the US federal government, meaning they can raise cancer risk. Medical authorities have already suggested that if you drink, drink in moderation. And if you don't, donít start it.

If it turns out that resveratrol does reduce the stroke-induced brain damage, consumers may be better off drinking red grape juice or use pure resveratrol, not the alcoholic red wine because of the concern over alcohol.

Reuter cited Dore as saying that the fermentation process in wine-making boosts the concentration of resveratrol. But that is not the reason to drink red wine to have resveratrol. Actually, pure resveratrol is available on the market right now.

For those who drink red wine, they should drink it for the pleasure only. Itís too early to be sure that drinking red wine would offer any health benefits. Although early studies did find an association between drinking red wine and reduced risk of cardiac diseases, some methodologies used have been challenged.

The article originally published on Republished with permission.

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