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Red Wine, Ethanol Show Similar Effects in People

Study finds no clear distinction between acute cardiovascular effects of two alcoholic drinks

THURSDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Even though it significantly increases plasma polyphenols, red wine has hemodynamic, sympathoneural and vascular activities similar to those of plain ethanol, according to research published in the February issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Jonas Spaak, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 13 adult subjects who drank either a moderately priced Pinot Noir, ethanol with Perrier, or Perrier as a control on three occasions. On each visit, they had two drinks of the beverage.

None of the drinks affected blood pressure, and the types of alcohol did not have different types of effects on heart rate. With both types of alcohol, cardiac output fell after one drink but increased after two. Brachial-artery diameter increased after both one and two drinks, and muscle sympathetic nerve activity increased after two drinks, but not after one.

"Despite the abundant literature describing the potential cardiovascular benefits of polyphenols, and greater increases in plasma dopamine and adrenocorticotropic hormone after two wine drinks, there was no evident distinction between the acute cardiovascular actions of red wine and ethanol. The present findings do not exclude the possibility that evidence of such benefit might emerge with chronic red wine consumption," the authors write.

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