A wide-ranging study has found a link between moderate wine consumption and a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer among middle-aged men, lending more credence to the French paradox.
Researchers from the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and Bordeaux Segalen University followed up with 35,292 men over about 28 years. They found that when more than 50 percent of a subject's alcohol consumption came from wine, he showed a lower risk of death from heart disease as well as lung, lip, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, bladder and rectal cancers.
Overall, moderate wine consumption was associated with a 40 percent reduced risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent reduced risk of death from cancer.
At the beginning of the study, subjects ranged in age from 40 to 65 years and hailed from eastern France. By the end, a total of 4,035 deaths from cancer had been recorded. Numbers for heart disease-related deaths were unavailable.
The results of the study were presented at WineHealth in Sydney, Australia, which wrapped up over the weekend.
When it comes to the famous French paradox, however – that long-standing belief that the health benefits of red wine negate the effects of the famously rich, high-fat diet and the risk of coronary heart disease – the scientific community is divided.
A study printed in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health also suggested that drinking up to half a glass of wine a day could boost life expectancy in males by five years. Researchers had examined the drinking habits of randomly selected men over a 40-year period.
But another study out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that resveratrol, the magic ingredient in red wine thought to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of heart disease, had little effect in already healthy women.
Though small, the study of 29 postmenopausal women found little health improvement in those who were given 75 mg of resveratrol daily – a large amount, equal to drinking 8 liters of red wine.