Can Red Wine Improve Heart Health?

Resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in grapes and red wine, packs potent antioxidant powers that can improve heart health, according to Spanish researchers. People at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) who took resveratrol supplements for one year showed significant improvements in heart-related factors when compared with individuals who took a placebo.

Resveratrol is a polyphenol that has attracted considerable attention in recent years because it appears to be beneficial in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Studies have also indicated resveratrol may have a role as a natural cancer killer in fighting prostate cancer and colon cancer.

Seventy-five people who were taking statins to help prevent CVD were enrolled in the triple-blind, placebo-controlled study. The participants were randomly assigned to take either a resveratrol-rich grape supplement (8 mg resveratrol), a resveratrol-free grape supplement, or placebo daily for 6 months. After six months, the doses were doubled.

Only the subjects in the resveratrol-rich group showed a significant decline in inflammation markers (risk factors for CVD), including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and plasminogen activator inhibitor. The resveratrol group also showed a significant increase in an anti-inflammatory substance called interleukin-10.

The authors noted that “Despite the beneficial effects observed, the sample size and follow-up (1 year) prevented conclusions related to prediction of future CV events in these patients.” However, resveratrol appears to hold promise as a health-promoting supplement in this and other studies.


Tome-Carneiro J et al. One-year consumption of a grape nutraceutical containing resveratrol improves the inflammatory and fibrinolytic status of patients in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Cardiology 2012 Aug 1; 110(3): 356-63