The cardioprotective effect of red wine polyphenols demonstrated

The polyphenols in red wine slow down the oxidation of plasma lipids, and the effect is particularly marked for the long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA.

Numerous studies attribute to the moderate consumption of wine, in particular red wine, a protective effect on the cardiovascular level. However, the precise mechanisms of this protection remain unclear. While the favorable effect of ethanol on HDL cholesterol is well established, the role of wine polyphenols still divides scientists.

However, Italian researchers are providing new information on the antioxidant effects of these polyphenols. They measured, by different methods, the influence of polyphenols in red wine on the oxidizability of several fatty acids in plasma. They focused on the fatty acids most involved in the inflammatory response, namely arachidonic (AA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids.

Red wine polyphenols protect Omega 3

Their results indicate that the polyphenols in red wine protect all these polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidation phenomena, according to a dose-dependent relationship. However, it appears that the protective effect is particularly marked for omega-3 fatty acids.

For the scientists, their work suggests that the association of red wine polyphenols with apolipoproteins makes EPA and DHA less accessible to water-soluble radicals than AA. So that could bring a new stone to the building of the understanding of the “cardioprotective” effect of the traditional Mediterranean diet, characterized in particular by a moderate consumption of red wine and sources of EPA and DHA.


Cazzola: Red wine polyphenols protect n-3 more fatty than n-6 polyunsaturated acid from lipid peroxidation. Food Research International, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2011.07.029

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