Resveratrol, (3, 5, 4'-trihydroxystilbene) is a non-flavonoid polyphenol stilbene synthesized by plants when damaged by infectious diseases or ionizing radiation. Although present in more than seventy plant species, grapes and wine are the major dietary contributors of resveratrol, responsible for 98% of the daily intake. In 1992, Renaud and De Lorgeril first linked wine polyphenols, including resveratrol, to the potential health benefits ascribed to regular and moderate wine consumption (the so called "French Paradox"). Since then, resveratrol has received increasing scientific interest, leading to research on its biological actions, and to a large number of published papers, which have been collected and discussed in this review. The relatively low amounts of resveratrol measured in wine following moderate consumption, however, may be insufficient to mitigate biological damage, such as that due to oxidative stress. On this basis, the authors also highlight the importance of viticulture and the winemaking process to enhance resveratrol concentrations in wine in order to bolster potential health benefits.

Published in Phenolic compounds

BACKGROUND: Several studies have investigated the predictors of alcohol consumption behavior among adolescents and young adults. However, the body of evidence about the relationship between in particular psychological factors and alcohol consumption among individuals in the second half of life is still limited. Hence, we aimed at identifying factors associated with alcohol consumption among individuals aged 40 and above, especially focusing on psychological correlates.

METHODS: Data were derived from a population-based sample of community-dwelling individuals aged 40 to 95 years (n = 7820) in Germany. Alcohol consumption was rated as 'never' (never drinkers), 'rarer than once a month', 'one to three times a month', 'once a week', 'several times a week' (occasional drinkers), and 'daily' (daily drinkers). Socio-economic factors, the illness level and physical activity were considered as possible determinants of alcohol consumption. In addition, positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, optimism, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-regulation were included as psychological factors. Multinomial regressions were used to identify factors associated with drinking behavior.

RESULTS: 12.0% of the individuals were daily drinkers, 76.5% were occasional drinkers, and 11.5% of the individuals never drank alcohol. After adjusting for various potential confounders, multinomial logistic regressions revealed that, compared with never drinking, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with a decreased loneliness, a higher life satisfaction, a higher positive affect, a higher optimism, a higher self-efficacy (occasional drinkers), a higher self-esteem, and less perceived stress. In addition, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with less physical illnesses, male gender, and income as compared with never drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: The current study extends the existing literature on alcohol consumption behavior by new insights of correlates of drinking behavior among individuals in the second half of life. Since interventions are available to address this risk factor, this might help to identify individuals with increased alcohol consumption.

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Liver damage is a serious and sometimes fatal consequence of long-term alcohol intake, which progresses from early-stage fatty liver (steatosis) to later-stage steatohepatitis with inflammation and fibrosis/necrosis. However, very little is known about earlier stages of liver disruption that may occur in problem drinkers, those who drink excessively but are not dependent on alcohol.

METHODS: We examined how repeated binge-like alcohol drinking in C57BL/6 mice altered liver function, as compared with a single binge-intake session and with repeated moderate alcohol consumption. We measured a number of markers associated with early- and later-stage liver disruption, including liver steatosis, measures of liver cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), alcohol metabolism, expression of cytokine mRNA, accumulation of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) as an indicator of oxidative stress, and alanine transaminase/aspartate transaminase as a measure of hepatocyte injury.

RESULTS: Importantly, repeated binge-like alcohol drinking increased triglyceride levels in the liver and plasma, and increased lipid droplets in the liver, indicators of steatosis. In contrast, a single binge-intake session or repeated moderate alcohol consumption did not alter triglyceride levels. In addition, alcohol exposure can increase rates of alcohol metabolism through CYP2E1 and ADH, which can potentially increase oxidative stress and liver dysfunction. Intermittent, excessive alcohol intake increased liver CYP2E1 mRNA, protein, and activity, as well as ADH mRNA and activity. Furthermore, repeated, binge-like drinking, but not a single binge or moderate drinking, increased alcohol metabolism. Finally, repeated, excessive intake transiently elevated mRNA for the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1B and 4-HNE levels, but did not alter markers of later-stage liver hepatocyte injury.

CONCLUSIONS: Together, we provide data suggesting that even relatively limited binge-like alcohol drinking can lead to disruptions in liver function, which might facilitate the transition to more severe forms of liver damage.

Published in Liver Disease

Worldwide, binge drinking is a major public health problem. The popularized health risks associated with binge drinking include physical injury and motor vehicle crashes; less attention has been given to the negative effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system. The primary aims of this review were to provide a summary of the adverse effects of binge drinking on the risk and development of CV disease and to review potential pathophysiologic mechanisms. Using specific inclusion criteria, an integrative review was conducted that included data from human experimental, prospective cross-sectional, and cohort epidemiological studies that examined the association between binge drinking and CV conditions such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and arrhythmias. Studies were identified that examined the relationship between binge drinking and CV outcomes. Collectively, findings support that binge drinking is associated with a higher risk of pre-hypertension, hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke in middle-aged and older adults. Binge drinking may also have adverse CV effects in young adults (aged 18-30). Mechanisms remain incompletely understood; however, available evidence suggests that binge drinking may induce oxidative stress and vascular injury and be pro-atherogenic. Public health messages regarding binge drinking need to include the effects of binge drinking on the cardiovascular system. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Published in Drinking Patterns
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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.