24 June 2019 In General Health

The scientific evidence available on the association between moderate alcohol intake and levels of blood cardiometabolic markers is still inconsistent and difficult to interpret for future disease prevention. However, we hypothesize that moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with lower levels of inflammation markers and higher levels of protective cardiometabolic markers. Thus, this work aimed to examine the associations of moderate alcohol intake and the type of alcoholic beverage with metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers. An observational, cross-sectional study including 143 apparently healthy adults 55years of age and older was performed. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to collect information on alcoholic beverage intake frequency, food frequency, physical activity, socioeconomic status, diseases and medications, and other health-related habits. Three groups were established prior to recruitment: (1) abstainers and occasional consumers (ABS, n=54); (2) beer consumers (BEER >/=80% of total alcohol intake; n=40), and (3) mixed beverage consumers (MIXED; n=49). Univariate analysis of variance models, adjusted for confounding factors and covariables, were performed. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and sP-selectin were significantly higher in the MIXED group than in the ABS group, and adiponectin was higher in the MIXED group compared to the BEER group. All alcohol consumers also had higher mean platelet volume values compared to ABS. In linear regression analyses, HDL-c, sP-selectin, and adiponectin were positively associated with wine intake (g/d) (P<.001, P=.014, and P=.017, respectively); and mean platelet volume, with beer intake (P=.017). In conclusion, this cross-sectional study showed that moderate alcohol intake is associated with higher levels of HDL-c and adiponectin compared to those in abstainers, which are mainly explained by wine intake.

24 June 2019 In General Health

Wine, a widely consumed beverage, comprises several biophenols that promote health. Flavonoids, majorly present in red wine, have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and immunomodulatory activities. Regular consumption of red wine (100 mL/day) is estimated to provide an average of 88 mg of flavonoids, whereas recent epidemiological studies indicate that wine is one of the major sources of flavonoid intake amongst wine lovers in European countries (providing an average intake of 291(-)374 mg/day of flavonoids). In addition to being antioxidants, in vitro studies suggest that flavonoids also have anti-allergic activities that inhibit IgE synthesis, activation of mast cells and basophils or other inflammatory cells, and production of inflammatory mediators, including cytokines. Furthermore, they affect the differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells into effector T cell subsets. Moreover, several studies have reported the benefits of flavonoids in allergic models such as atopic dermatitis, asthma, anaphylaxis, and food allergy; however, evidence in humans is limited to allergic rhinitis and respiratory allergy. Although further evaluation is required, it is expected that an appropriate intake of flavonoids may be beneficial in preventing, and eventually managing, allergic diseases.

24 June 2019 In General Health

In this article, we critically evaluate the evidence relating to the effects of the Mediterranean diet (MD) on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Strong evidence indicating that the MD prevents CVD has come from prospective cohort studies. However, there is only weak supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as none have compared subjects who follow an MD and those who do not. Instead, RCTs have tested the effect of 1 or 2 features of the MD. This was the case in the Prevenciomicronn con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study: the major dietary change in the intervention groups was the addition of either extravirgin olive oil or nuts. Meta-analyses generally suggest that the MD causes small favorable changes in risk factors for CVD, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and waist circumference. However, the effect on blood lipids is generally weak. The MD may also decrease several biomarkers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein. The 7 key features of the MD can be divided into 2 groups. Some are clearly protective against CVD (olive oil as the main fat; high in legumes; high in fruits/vegetables/nuts; and low in meat/meat products and increased in fish). However, other features of the MD have a less clear relationship with CVD (low/moderate alcohol use, especially red wine; high in grains/cereals; and low/moderate in milk/dairy). In conclusion, the evidence indicates that the MD prevents CVD. There is a need for RCTs that test the effectiveness of the MD for preventing CVD. Key design features for such a study are proposed.

24 June 2019 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: Alcohol consumption is the fifth leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally. The development and promotion of lower strength alcohol products may help reduce alcohol consumption and associated harms. This study assessed what a sample of UK weekly drinkers perceived to be the target groups and occasions for drinking wines and beers labelled with different verbal and numerical descriptors of lower alcohol strength.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: 3390 adults (1697 wine and 1693 beer drinkers) were sampled from a nationally representative UK panel, and participated in a between-subjects experiment in which participants were randomised to 1 of 18 groups with one of three levels of verbal descriptor (Low vs. Super Low vs. No verbal descriptor) and six levels of %ABV (five levels varying for wine and beer, and no level given).

MEASURES: The study gauged participants' perceptions of the type of person that would find the randomised beverage appealing and the type of occasion on which the beverage is likely to be drunk at.

RESULTS: A principal component analysis showed that participants perceived pregnant women, sportspeople and those aged 6-13 years old were the target groups for products labelled with 0%ABV or the verbal descriptors Low or Super Low, whereas men, women, and those aged above 18 were perceived as the target groups for products labelled with higher %ABV. Participants also rated the products labelled with 0%ABV or the verbal descriptors Low or Super Low as targeting consumption on weekday lunches, whereas products labelled with higher %ABV were rated as targeting dinner/evening occasions, including parties, holidays and celebrations.

CONCLUSIONS: Lower strength products were seen as targeting non-traditional consumers (pregnant women) and occasions (weekday lunchtimes), suggesting these products may be perceived as extensions to regular strength alcoholic drinks rather than as substitutes for them.

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