Monday, September 24, 2007

More health benefits from booze

With the same disclaimer as on the post regarding the benefits of red wine - i.e. this is not an excuse to get drunk every night - other alcohol can also have beneficial effects.

When we hear about the benefits of alcohol it is invariably in the context of red wine. We are told that the flavonoids and various other compounds in red wine are beneficial. Now as I say here I am not now convinced that the benefits are down directly to the flavonoids, based on what Emma writes.

However, this study found that there are also benefits in other drinks: specifically - in this study gin and cava! The finding is that booze to some degree is anti-inflammatory.

Inflammatory Markers of Atherosclerosis Are Decreased after Moderate Consumption of Cava (Sparkling Wine) in Men with Low Cardiovascular Risk.

Atherosclerosis is considered a low-grade inflammatory disease. Polyphenol-rich alcoholic beverages (red wine) have shown a more pronounced antiinflammatory effect than polyphenol-free alcoholic beverages (gin). However, no studies to our knowledge have evaluated the antiinflammatory effects of alcoholic beverages with medium-level polyphenol content such as cava (sparkling wine). We enrolled 20 healthy men (aged 34 +/- 9 y) in a randomized crossover study to receive 30 g ethanol/d as cava or gin for 28 d. Before both interventions, subjects abstained from alcohol for 2 wk. Inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis and expression of adhesion molecules on peripheral leukocytes were measured before and after each intervention. Likewise, dietary intake and exercise were also evaluated. Expression of lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1), very late activation antigen-4 (VLA-4), Sialyl-Lewis(x) (SLe(x)), and CD40 on monocytes decreased after cava intake (all P < 0.05), whereas only SLe(x) was reduced after gin intake (P = 0.036). Circulating markers of atherosclerosis including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, E-selectin, and P-selectin decreased after both interventions (all P < 0.05). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and CD40L were diminished only after cava intake (all P < 0.05). The effects of cava on circulating CD40L, ICAM-1, and MCP-1, and monocyte surface expression of CD40, LFA-1, and VLA-4 were greater than those of gin (all P < 0.05). In conclusion, both cava and gin showed antiinflammatory properties; however, cava had a greater protective effect, probably due its polyphenol content.

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