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.


Although excessive consumption of ethanol in alcoholic beverages causes multi-organ damage, moderate consumption, particularly of red wine, is protective against all-cause mortality. These protective effects could be due to one or many components of the complex mixture of bioactive compounds present in red wine including flavonols, monomeric and polymeric flavan-3-ols, highly colored anthocyanins as well as phenolic acids and the stilbene polyphenol, resveratrol. The therapeutic potential of resveratrol, firstly in cancer chemoprevention and then later for cardioprotection, has stimulated many studies on the possible mechanisms of action. Further indications for resveratrol have been developed, including the prevention of age-related disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These improvements are remarkably similar yet there is an important dichotomy:…
Moderate red wine consumption is associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease; however, the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. The main aim of this study was to investigate the effects of red wine polyphenols (WP) on the oxidizability of human plasma fatty acids, in particular those most involved in the inflammatory response - archidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The oxidizability of the major fatty acids of plasma was determined by measuring their loss gaschromatographycally during peroxidation kinetics induced by 2'-azobis(2-methylpropionamidine)-dihydrochloride. The capacity of WP to scavenge 1,1,diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH), superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals, and trap total peroxyl radicals in plasma (TRAP) was also measured. WP (1.75-5 µg/mL) inhibited DPPH, superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals…
BACKGROUND: A greater reduction in cardiovascular risk and vascular protection associated with diet rich in polyphenols are generally accepted; however, the molecular targets for polyphenols effects remain unknown. Meanwhile evidences in the literature have enlightened, not only structural similarities between estrogens and polyphenols known as phytoestrogens, but also in their vascular effects. We hypothesized that alpha isoform of estrogen receptor (ERalpha) could be involved in the transduction of the vascular benefits of polyphenols. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we used ERalpha deficient mice to show that endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation induced either by red wine polyphenol extract, Provinols, or delphinidin, an anthocyanin that possesses similar pharmacological profile, is mediated by ERalpha. Indeed, Provinols, delphinidin and ERalpha agonists, 17-beta-estradiol and PPT, are able to induce…
RATIONALE: Experimental studies have shown a potential blood pressure (BP) lowering effect of red wine polyphenols, whereas the effects of ethanol and polyphenols on BP in humans are not yet clear. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effects of red wine fractions (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) on BP and plasma nitric oxide (NO) in subjects at high cardiovascular risk. METHODS AND RESULTS: Sixty-seven men at high cardiovascular risk were studied. After a 2-week run-in period, subjects were randomized into 3 treatment periods in a crossover clinical trial, with a common background diet plus red wine (30g alcohol/day), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine, or gin (30g alcohol/day), lasting 4 weeks each intervention. At baseline and…
BACKGROUND: Few clinical studies have focused on the alcohol-independent cardiovascular effects of the phenolic compounds of red wine (RW). OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate the effects of ethanol and phenolic compounds of RW on the expression of inflammatory biomarkers related to atherosclerosis in subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease. DESIGN: Sixty-seven high-risk, male volunteers were included in a randomized, crossover consumption trial. After a washout period, all subjects received RW (30 g alcohol/d), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine (DRW), or gin (30 g alcohol/d) for 4 wk. Before and after each intervention period, 7 cellular and 18 serum inflammatory biomarkers were evaluated. RESULTS: Alcohol increased IL-10 and decreased macrophage-derived chemokine concentrations, whereas the phenolic compounds of RW…
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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.