Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wine and Health

When I was young, to differentiate myself from so many other suburban youth, I entered into my “Straight Edge” phase, marked by an adherence to no alcohol or drugs, among other things. The movement was popularized by the punk group Minor Threat, a key influence from my youth.

However, now that I’m older, but none the wiser, I drink wine and the occasional beer, with a celebratory cocktail once in a blue moon. Over the years, there have been many studies related to alcohol and wine (remember the French Paradox? No? You’re probably too young.). Most have shown at least a minimal connection between moderate wine consumption and a variety of health benefits. Most of the benefits seem to be derived from drinking red wine, though white wine and beer are sometimes included as lowly stepchildren. Hard alcohol seems to include no benefits, beyond a lack of a beer belly being formed.

So why should this matter to you? As a runner, cyclist, walker, or swimmer,, you are damaging your body on a weekly, sometimes a daily basis. Sun, wind, exercise, and diet all contribute to the damage done. Recovery is becoming more discussed as we all realize the importance to let our bodies repair themselves.

I’ve recently done some research into what, today, cutting-edge science believes. Basically, no one knows. That being said, I did find some more recent studies that have me believing that continued moderate wine drinking (both red and white and the occasional rosé) is good for me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

(Note to Jamooshmake sure you stay
under the 22 beers per week!)

  • Moderate wine consumption is associated with decreased odds of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in NHANES-1. (Note: Macular degeneration is a loss of vision and yes, the study title is quite a mouthful.) Moderate wine consumption is associated with decreased odds of developing AMD. Wine alone or in combination with beer (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.55-0.79) or liquor (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.63-0.86), dominated the negative association observed between AMD and alcohol type. (Reference: J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Jan;46(1):1-7.)
  • Moderate wine consumption protects against hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage – this is one of the studies that pointed out that this health benefit was not differentiated for white versus red wines, good to know. Also, this does NOT refer to drinking the product some of used in our youth to bleach our hair blonde. (Reference: Mutagenesis (1997) 12 (4): 289-296.)

  • The Possible Implication of trans-Resveratrol (t-RESV) in the Cardioprotective Effects of Long-Term Moderate Wine Consumption - the results obtained in this work suggest that t-RESV could play an important role in the cardioprotective effects induced by the long-term moderate wine consumption. Also, anything with trans is funny to me. (Reference: Molecular Pharmacology February 1, 2002 vol. 61 no. 2 294-302.)
So there you have it – next time someone asks if you should really be having that second glass of wine, say of course, and cite the references!


  1. I come nowhere near 22 beers a week. That being said, when I get older and it starts to suck being alive, you can bet I'll be eclipsing 22 beers a week!

  2. Love the research, but best of all loved your bringing back those memories of Minor Threat and 7 Seconds concerts. I was a straight edger too, and although I like my wine and an occasional beer now, I think that back then being straight edge saved me from the sad fates of some of my punk rock buddies :-(

    As for now, viva la vino!

  3. I so love wine. I had given up drinking a glass the evening before my long runs, but I'm back to it again. Just can't give it up!

  4. wine keeps those arteries nice and clean. :)

    drink up Shriners!

  5. Wine also makes food taste better when used in sauces. White wine and scallops mmmm good. Red wine tomato sauce delicious. A little for the food and a little more for me.

  6. Everything is good in moderation, especially wine and exercise.

  7. Oh thank God. This is the last vice I really don't want to have to give up. Thank you for this informative and useful public service announcement.


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