Phenolic compounds


Wine contains phenolic compounds (polyphenols) which give wine its characteristic colour and flavour and are produced by plants in response to fungal infection, ultraviolet light, and various chemical and physical stressors, especially during ripening. They are extracted from the seeds and skins of grapes during fermentation of winemaking, when the juice is in contact with the grape skins and seeds. The amount of polyphenols in red wine is generally greater than white wine because the red juice has longer contact with the grape skins during fermentation enabling more phenolic substances to be extracted into the red juice.

There is evidence that certain polyphenols, such as resveratrol, anthocyanins, flavonols and catechins in wine provide health benefits. Furthermore, rather than polyphenols themselves, their metabolites might be the real key players in cardiovascular and cancer protection. Researchers have shown that these polyphenols in wine act as antioxidants and are five times more potent than the benchmark antioxidant, vitamin E. These antioxidants are believed to reduce the damage caused by the body's free radicals (toxic waste products) which contribute to causing degenerative diseases in the body such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and ageing.

The polyphenols may also aid in inhibiting the oxidative transformation of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and thus, preventing the accumulation of this oxidised LDL cholesterol in the artery wall which eventually could block the blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.

These findings support the overwhelming and still growing body of scientific research indicating that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with lower levels of coronary heart disease as well as with better health and lower mortality, especially when consumed in combination with
a healthy diet.


The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.


We review evidence for and against the 'red wine hypothesis', whereby red wine is more likely to confer cardiovascular benefits than white. As background, there is a strong epidemiological and mechanistic evidence for J-shaped relation between alcohol intake and total mortality. However, epidemiological data favouring a specific benefit of red over white wine are not strong and the 'French paradox' could at least in part be explained by confounding factors. More convincing evidence is that human studies with de-alcoholized red but not white wine show short-term cardiovascular benefits. The specific components of the de-alcoholized wine that are active on cardiovascular endpoints, are the polyphenols found in red wine, especially resveratrol. The effects of resveratrol on isolated tissues or organs are…
Resveratrol, a polyphenol in red wine, has been reported as a calorie restriction mimetic with potential antiaging and antidiabetogenic properties. It is widely consumed as a nutritional supplement, but its mechanism of action remains a mystery. Here, we report that the metabolic effects of resveratrol result from competitive inhibition of cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterases, leading to elevated cAMP levels. The resulting activation of Epac1, a cAMP effector protein, increases intracellular Ca(2+) levels and activates the CamKKbeta-AMPK pathway via phospholipase C and the ryanodine receptor Ca(2+)-release channel. As a consequence, resveratrol increases NAD(+) and the activity of Sirt1. Inhibiting PDE4 with rolipram reproduces all of the metabolic benefits of resveratrol, including prevention of diet-induced obesity and an increase in mitochondrial function, physical stamina,…
The inverse association between alcohol intake and coronary heart disease has been consistently reported in cross-culture, case-control, and cohort studies. Over the past couple of decades, however, many studies have explained promising health benefits associated with wine consumption. Some studies suggest that red wine is more cardioprotective than white wine, possibly due to the increased content of flavanoid antioxidants found in red wine. Several experimental studies, including ours, support the evidence that these beneficial effects are due to resveratrol, the polyphenolic compound present in red wine. Many studies have provided evidence that resveratrol possesses antioxidant and antiapoptotic effects apart from activation of longevity proteins (such as SIRT-1). We have recently reported the angiogenic, antihypercholesterolemic, and antidiabetic effects of resveratrol and…
BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated the effect of dietary polyphenols on the complex human gut microbiota, and they focused mainly on single polyphenol molecules and select bacterial populations. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate the effect of a moderate intake of red wine polyphenols on select gut microbial groups implicated in host health benefits. DESIGN: Ten healthy male volunteers underwent a randomized, crossover, controlled intervention study. After a washout period, all of the subjects received red wine, the equivalent amount of de-alcoholized red wine, or gin for 20 d each. Total fecal DNA was submitted to polymerase chain reaction(PCR)-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and real-time quantitative PCR to monitor and quantify changes in fecal microbiota. Several biochemical markers were measured. RESULTS:…
Food polyphenols are able to selectively modify the growth of susceptible micro-organisms. Wine is a good source of polyphenols and thus, the moderate consumption of this beverage can lead to the modulation of both oral and gut microbiota. This review aims to bring together the knowledge acquired concerning the potential effects of wine polyphenols on human microbiota, as well as taking into account the ability of bacteria to metabolize these compounds. Red wine phenolic composition, characterized by the occurrence of flavan-3-ols, flavonols, anthocyanins, hydroxybenzoic and hydroxycinnamic acids, stilbenes and phenolic alcohols as the main phenolic compounds, will determine the microbiota-modulating effects of wine consumption. Moreover, although the same bacterial genera can be found in oral and gut ecosystems, their relative…

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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.