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Red Wine Polyphenols Found to Have Prebiotic Effects

For the first time ever, a study has found that the polyphenols found in red wine may have prebiotic benefits and promote positive gut bacteria.

The researchers were based at the University of Barcelona and their results will be published in the June 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Participants in the trial included 10 healthy adult males. For the first 15 days of the trial, the men were not allowed to drink any alcoholic beverage. Following that washout period, the men were assigned to consume either 9 oz. of de-alcoholized red wine, 9 oz. of red wine or 3.5 oz. of gin per day for 20 days.

Each of the men participated in all three interventions and the researchers took fecal samples to determine the effects of the beverages on gut microbial populations. All three of the beverages resulted in increased gut microbes, but the red wine interventions resulted in the greatest variety of bacteria.

Additionally higher concentrations of bifidobacteria were noted in the red wine groups. Bifidobacteria has been previously associated with lower levels of cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a marker of inflammation and a predictor of cardiovascular disease.

Red wine polyphenols have powerful antioxidant properties and have been associated with numerous health benefits. These include improving heart health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, reducing cholesterol and inflammation and destroying free radicals.

It’s important to drink moderately, as high consumption of alcohol can reverse any health benefits received. A high quality supplement is a good alternative is you do not wish to consume red wine.

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