06 May 2014 In Phenolic compounds

OBJECTIVE: Western studies suggest that beverages may affect serum urate (SU) levels, but data from Asian populations are scarce. We evaluated the associations between beverages and SU levels in Singaporean Chinese.

METHODS: The study population consisted of 483 subjects ages 45-74 years from the Singapore Chinese Health Study cohort, recruited between 1993 and 1998. Lifestyle factors, medical histories, and diet were collected through in-person interviews. SU levels and other biomarkers were measured from blood collected between 1994 and 1996.

RESULTS: The mean age was 57.6 years and 44% were men. The geometric mean SU level was 321 mumoles/liter (range 157-719). Mean SU levels increased with alcohol consumption (P = 0.024 for trend). The mean SU level of daily alcohol drinkers was 42.6 mumoles/liter higher than that of nondrinkers. Similarly, increasing frequency of green tea intake was associated with rising SU levels. The highest mean SU level was observed in daily green tea drinkers (difference of 25.0 mumoles/liter) relative to nondrinkers (P = 0.009 for trend). Compared to nondrinkers, daily alcohol drinkers had an almost 5-fold increase in association with hyperuricemia (odds ratio [OR] 4.83, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.10-21.23), whereas daily green tea drinkers had a 2-fold increase in association with hyperuricemia (OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.03-4.36). The present study did not show elevated levels of SU in individuals who consumed black tea, coffee, fruit juice, or soda.

CONCLUSION: Alcohol consumption increases SU levels. The finding that daily drinking of green tea is associated with hyperuricemia needs validation in future studies.

06 May 2014 In Phenolic compounds

The antioxidant properties of wine have been largely related to the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging ability of phenolic compounds. Polyphenolic compounds are hardly absorbed and quickly transformed into metabolites. Their antioxidant activities just as radical scavenging properties are therefore limited, but it is worth looking to other mechanisms. This study intended to test whether wine consumption affects antioxidant enzyme activity and gene expression. For this purpose, eight subjects drank 300 mL of red wine every day for a week and ate a low phenolic diet (LPD + W) specifically designed to avoid interferences from other polyphenols in the diet. The control period was a week with this diet, and volunteers refrained from drinking wine (LPD). Blood samples were taken at 0, 1, and 7 days. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione reductase (GR) activities were determined in erythrocytes (SOD), plasma (CAT and GR), and blood (GPx). Gene expression was determined in macrophages. Oxidative stress caused by LPD reduced SOD, CAT, and GR activities. After wine consumption, these activities significantly increased (P < 0.05), and this overcame the effect of oxidative stress on enzyme activity. The modulation of CAT activity may be independent of changes in their gene expression, which significantly increased after LPD. However, SOD gene expression increased only during the LPD + W week. Enzyme activities are not all regulated in the same way. The results show that subacute moderate wine ingestion modulated antioxidant enzyme expression and activity, which is important for the prevention of ROS-associated diseases.

AIMS: We conducted a systematic review of studies examining relationships between measures of beverage alcohol tax or price levels and alcohol sales or self-reported drinking. A total of 112 studies of alcohol tax or price effects were found, containing 1003 estimates of the tax/price-consumption relationship.

DESIGN: Studies included analyses of alternative outcome measures, varying subgroups of the population, several statistical models, and using different units of analysis. Multiple estimates were coded from each study, along with numerous study characteristics. Using reported estimates, standard errors, t-ratios, sample sizes and other statistics, we calculated the partial correlation for the relationship between alcohol price or tax and sales or drinking measures for each major model or subgroup reported within each study. Random-effects models were used to combine studies for inverse variance weighted overall estimates of the magnitude and significance of the relationship between alcohol tax/price and drinking.

FINDINGS: Simple means of reported elasticities are -0.46 for beer, -0.69 for wine and -0.80 for spirits. Meta-analytical results document the highly significant relationships (P < 0.001) between alcohol tax or price measures and indices of sales or consumption of alcohol (aggregate-level r = -0.17 for beer, -0.30 for wine, -0.29 for spirits and -0.44 for total alcohol). Price/tax also affects heavy drinking significantly (mean reported elasticity = -0.28, individual-level r = -0.01, P < 0.01), but the magnitude of effect is smaller than effects on overall drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: A large literature establishes that beverage alcohol prices and taxes are related inversely to drinking. Effects are large compared to other prevention policies and programs. Public policies that raise prices of alcohol are an effective means to reduce drinking.

AIMS: Alcohol portrayal in movies and commercials is generally positive and might stimulate young people to drink. We tested experimentally whether portrayal of alcohol images in movies and commercials on television promotes actual drinking.

METHODS: In a naturalistic setting (a bar lab), young adult male pairs watched a movie clip for 1 h with two commercial breaks and were allowed to drink non-alcohol and alcoholic beverages. These participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions varying on the type of movie (many versus few alcohol portrayals) and commercials (alcohol commercials present or not).

RESULTS: Participants assigned to the conditions with substantial alcohol exposure in either movies or commercials consume more alcohol than other participants. Those in the condition with alcohol portrayal in movie and commercials drank on average 1.5 glasses more than those in the condition with no alcohol portrayal, within a period of 1 h.

CONCLUSIONS: This study-for the first time-shows a causal link between exposure to drinking models and alcohol commercials on acute alcohol consumption.

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