28 July 2014 In General Health

BACKGROUND: The notion of migraine attacks triggered by food and beverages has been posited for centuries. Red wine in particular has been acknowledged as a migraine trigger since antiquity when Celsus (25 B.C.-50 A.D.) described head pain after drinking wine. Since then, references to the relationship between alcohol ingestion and headache attacks are numerous. The most common initiator of these attacks among alcoholic beverages is clearly wine. The aim of this review is to present and discuss the available literature on wine and headache.

METHODS: A Medline search with the terms headache, migraine, and wine was performed. Data available on books and written material about wine and medicine as well as abstracts on alcohol, wine, and headache available in the proceedings of major headache meetings in the last 30 years were reviewed. In addition, available technical literature and websites about wine, grapes, and wine making were also evaluated.

RESULTS: Full papers specifically on headache and wine are scarce. General literature related to medicine and wine is available, but scientific rigor is typically lacking. The few studies on wine and headache were mostly presented as abstracts despite the common knowledge and patients' complaints about wine ingestion and headache attacks. These studies suggest that red wine, but not white and sparkling wines, do trigger headache and migraine attacks independently of dosage in less than 30% of the subjects.

DISCUSSION: Wine, and specifically red wine, is a migraine trigger. Non-migraineurs may have headache attacks with wine ingestion as well. The reasons for that triggering potential are uncertain, but the presence of phenolic flavonoid radicals and the potential for interfering with the central serotonin metabolism are probably the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between wine and headache. Further controlled studies are necessary to enlighten this traditional belief.

06 May 2014 In Phenolic compounds

BACKGROUND: An increased risk of breast cancer is associated with alcohol consumption; however, it is controversial whether red wine increases this risk. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) prevent the conversion of androgens to estrogen and occur naturally in grapes, grape juice, and red, but not white wine. We tested whether red wine is a nutritional AI in premenopausal women.

METHODS: In a cross-over design, 36 women (mean age [SD], 36 [8] years) were assigned to 8 ounces (237 mL) of red wine daily then white wine for 1 month each, or the reverse. Blood was collected twice during the menstrual cycle for measurement of estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), androstenedione (A), total and free testosterone (T), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).

RESULTS: Red wine demonstrated higher free T vs. white wine (mean difference 0.64 pg/mL [0.2 SE], p=0.009) and lower SHBG (mean difference -5.0 nmol/L [1.9 SE], p=0.007). E2 levels were lower in red vs. white wine but not statistically significant. LH was significantly higher in red vs. white wine (mean difference 2.3 mIU/mL [1.3 SE], p=0.027); however, FSH was not.

CONCLUSION: Red wine is associated with significantly higher free T and lower SHBG levels, as well as a significant higher LH level vs. white wine in healthy premenopausal women. These data suggest that red wine is a nutritional AI and may explain the observation that red wine does not appear to increase breast cancer risk.

06 May 2014 In Phenolic compounds

Extensive research within the last decade has revealed that most chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases exhibit dysregulation of multiple cell signaling pathways that have been linked to inflammation. Thus mono-targeted therapies developed for the last two decades for these diseases have proven to be unsafe, ineffective and expensive. Although fruits and vegetables are regarded to have therapeutic potential against chronic illnesses, neither their active component nor the mechanism of action is well understood. Resveratrol (trans-3, 5, 4'-trihydroxystilbene), a component of grapes, berries, peanuts and other traditional medicines, is one such polyphenol that has been shown to mediate its effects through modulation of many different pathways. This stilbene has been shown to bind to numerous cell-signaling molecules such as multi drug resistance protein, topoisomerase II, aromatase, DNA polymerase, estrogen receptors, tubulin and F1-ATPase. Resveratrol has also been shown to activate various transcription factor (e.g; NFkappaB, STAT3, HIF-1alpha, beta-catenin and PPAR-gamma), suppress the expression of antiapoptotic gene products (e.g; Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), XIAP and survivin), inhibit protein kinases (e.g; src, PI3K, JNK, and AKT), induce antioxidant enzymes (e,g; catalase, superoxide dismutase and hemoxygenase-1), suppress the expression of inflammatory biomarkers (e.g., TNF, COX-2, iNOS, and CRP), inhibit the expression of angiogenic and metastatic gene products (e.g., MMPs, VEGF, cathepsin D, and ICAM-1), and modulate cell cycle regulatory genes (e.g., p53, Rb, PTEN, cyclins and CDKs). Numerous animal studies have demonstrated that this polyphenol holds promise against numerous age-associated diseases including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. In view of these studies, resveratrol's prospects for use in the clinics are rapidly accelerating. Efforts are also underway to improve its activity in vivo through structural modification and reformulation. Our review describes various targets of resveratrol and their therapeutic potential.

06 May 2014 In Phenolic compounds

Epidemiological and experimental studies have revealed that a mild to moderate drinking of wine, particularly red wine, attenuates the cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular risk. However, the experimental basis for such health benefits is not fully understood. The cardioprotective effect of wine has been attributed to both components of wine: the alcoholic portion and, more importantly, the alcohol-free portion containing antioxidants. Wines are manufactured from grapes, which also contain a large variety of antioxidants, including resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. Resveratrol is mainly found in the grape skin, whereas proanthocyanidins are found only in the seeds. Recent studies have demonstrated that resveratrol and proanthocyanidin are the major compounds present in grapes and wines responsible for cardioprotection. The purpose of this review is to provide evidence that grapes, wines, and resveratrol are equally important in reducing the risk of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular complications. Both wines and grapes can attenuate cardiac diseases such as atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease. Recently, wine was also found to increase life span by inducing longevity genes. It appears that resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, especially resveratrol, present in grapes and wines play a crucial role in cardioprotective abilities of grapes and wines.

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