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Red Wine More Beneficial For Cardiovascular Health Than Vodka: Study

Update Date: Sep 11, 2012 08:43 AM EDT

The next time someone asks you for your choice of drink, you may want to say wine!

According to the findings of research conducted by Rhode Island Hospital researcher Frank Sellke, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery and The Miriam hospitals along with  his colleagues, the effects of red wine are better than that of vodka.

The researchers who aimed at studying how red wine and vodka effect pigs with high cholesterol found that those fond of red wine did fare better than their vodka drinking counterparts.

"There has been previous research touting the benefits of moderate consumption of wine, but we wanted to test the effects of both wine and vodka in conjunction with high cholesterol as those who would be in this at-risk patient population typically have other medical issues, such as high cholesterol," said Sellke, the study's principal investigator.

"What we found is that moderate consumption of both alcohols may reduce cardiovascular risk, but that red wine may offer increased protection due to its antioxidant properties."

For the study, the researchers divided pigs, fed with high fat diet into three groups. While one group was given supplements of red wine mixed with the food, the other was given vodka supplement and the third group continued only with the high fat diet. The dosage of the supplements provided to the swine were selected to provide equal amounts of alcohol to both treated groups.

At 7 weeks of the experiment, it was found that pigs that were given wine and vodka supplements had increased blood flow to the heart with those taking wine supplements faring better.

Also, it was observed that the level of HDL, or good cholesterol, was also significantly high in both the alcohol treated groups, with the total cholesterol being unaffected.

HDL (good) cholesterol transports LDL (bad) to the liver where it is metabolized, which may assist in preventing hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, and other cardiac issues, Medical Xpress reported.

Through this study, the researchers could conclude that both wine and vodka can benefit in different ways and that moderate alcohol intake is indeed beneficial for cardiovascular health. However, the application of this theory is yet to be seen in humans.While red wine can dilate the blood vessels, vodka can help the development of more collateral vessels.

These findings support previous studies that have shown the benefits of beer, wine and spirits in reducing cardiovascular risks.

The authors note that the amount of resveratrol, one of the substances unique to red wine, varies largely among different kinds of red wines, and though Californian pinot noir (the type of wine used for this study) is reported to have one of the highest resveratrol contents, the amount of resveratrol in the wine chosen for this study was lower than that reported for other red wines, the report said.

The paper is published in the September issue of the journal Circulation.

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