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One Drink May Help Heart, But Two Is Too Many
Date:2/18/2008

Extra glass negates immediate benefits to circulation, Canadian study says

MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Whether it's red wine or another spirit, the heart and blood vessels benefit slightly from one drink, but a second erases the positive effects, say Canadian researchers.

A study, published in the February edition of the American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology, also raises more questions about the popular notion that red wine may be more effective against heart disease than other types of alcohol.

"We had anticipated that many of the effects of one ethanol drink would be enhanced by red wine. What was most surprising was how similar the effects were of red wine and ethanol. Any benefits that we found were not specific to red wine," Dr. John Floras, director of cardiology research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at Toronto General Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

Several population studies have shown light or moderate alcohol drinking may lower the risk of death and the development of heart disease. Many studies have also reported specific benefits of red wine.

The "French paradox," in which studies have found lower rates of heart disease, despite high-fat diets, in some European countries where red wine was consumed regularly, has also spurred interest in exploring whether red wine has special protective properties.

Researchers at the Canadian center conducted a real-time study of 13 volunteers who were given either 4 ounces of red wine, 1.5 ounces of ethanol or water at random at three separate sessions over two weeks. The volunteers were healthy, nonsmoking adults who were neither heavy drinkers nor total alcohol abstainers.

The wine, a moderately priced pinot noir, contained a high t-resveratrol content, a polyphenol compound found in plants, including red grapes, that exhibits antioxidant properties. Alcohol or substances in alcohol
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