We read:

“Traditionally-made wines from southwestern France and Sardinia boast the highest concentration of complex compounds, called polyphenols, that are linked to greater longevity, a study published on Thursday in the science journal Nature says. Previous studies have generally established that a glass or two of red wine every day helps combat heart and circulatory disease by dilating blood vessels. But the picture has been confused, because not all red wines have the same kinds of polyphenols or in the same concentrations.

In tests using endothelial cells — the cells which line the arteries and where polyphenols are believed to have their positive affect — British scientists identified the most active members of the polyphenol family, which are called procyanidins.

They then tested red wines from the Gers department, in the French Pyrenees, and from Nuoro province on the Italian island of Sardinia, where local men are famous for their longevity. Wines from these two regions had remarkably high levels of procyanidins — often five to 10 times more than wines that were tested from Australia, South Africa and the United States. The secret to the Sardinian and Gers wines lies partly in the grape seeds and in time-honoured wine growing methods, the paper says. In Gers, a local variety of grape called Tannat, which is rarely grown elsewhere, also yields rich amounts of procyanidins.

“The traditional production methods used in Sardinia and southwestern France ensure that the beneficial compounds, procyanidins are efficiently extracted,” said Robert Corder from Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute in London, co-author of the paper. “This may explain the strong association between consumption of traditional tannic wines with overall wellbeing, reflected in greater longevity.”

Source. And the Journal abstract follows:

Oenology: Red wine procyanidins and vascular health

By R. Corder et al.

Regular, moderate consumption of red wine is linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and to lower overall mortality, but the relative contribution of wine’s alcohol and polyphenol components to these effects is unclear. Here we identify procyanidins as the principal vasoactive polyphenols in red wine and show that they are present at higher concentrations in wines from areas of southwestern France and Sardinia, where traditional production methods ensure that these compounds are efficiently extracted during vinification. These regions also happen to be associated with increased longevity in the population.

Despite appearances, the study in fact offers NO data on the relationship between longevity and the wine chemicals. All that it found was that pro-cyanadins suppress production of endothelin-1, a protein that constricts blood vessels. That such chemicals are high in the wine of two mountainous regions noted for long life proves nothing. Why? Several reasons: 1) Mountainous regions all over the world are often found to go with longer lives and in many of them grape wine is not drunk at all. 2); A sample of 2 is ludicrously small and enables NO generalizations; 3). It is a basic axiom of statistics that correlation does not prove causation. You need before-and-after studies for that; 4). For all we know, suppressing production of endothelin-1 may have ill effects as well as good effects. The lifespan in wine-drinking countries is not greater than in many other countries (notably Japan) in which little wine is drunk. The “Mediterranean diet” may produce a different pattern of illness but it seems to have negligible effect on the overall lifespan, as I pointed out here on October 12th.; 5). Note the cynical comment following from the wine-writer for “The Times”: “Since the early l990s there has been a stream of worthy medical reports confirming this or that wine-producing country and this or that grape variety as containing higher levels than their competitors of cardiovascular-protecting goodies. One minute research pinpoints New World producers like Chile as delivering healthier reds than any other country, the next the thick-skinned cabernet sauvignon grape is the one that doctors love the most”.
 

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

 

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