Posted on Jun 08, 2012, 6 a.m.
Polyphenol compounds in red wine may boost the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.
Prebiotic compounds are non-digestible substances a beneficial physiological effect, by selectively stimulating the favorable growth or activity of beneficial bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract. Spanish researchers have found that red wine polyphenols increase levels beneficial bacteria including strains of Bifidobacterium, Enteroccocus, Prevotella, and Bacteroides. Maria Isabel Queipo-Ortuno, from the Laboratorio de Investigaciones Biomedicas del Hospital Virgen de la Victoria (Spain), and colleagues studied 10 healthy male subjects, who went through four phases of a crossover intervention study. The participants first engaged in a washout period during which they avoided all alcohol and red wine for 15 days. The participants then drank either de-alcoholized red wine (272 mL/day), red wine (272 mL/day), or gin (100 mL/day), for 20 days each. Fecal samples were taken at each phase. The researchers observed that both red wine groups produced the greatest increase the diversity of Bifidobacterium, Enteroccocus, Prevotella, and Bacteroides bacteria. Gin resulted in increases only in Bacteroides and Closteridium, and disappearance of Prevotella. In addition, the red wine groups showed decreases the total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, as well as a decline in C-reactive protein (CRP) – an established marker of inflammation. The study authors conclude that: "This study showed that red wine consumption can significantly modulate the growth of select gut microbiota in humans, which suggests possible prebiotic benefits associated with the inclusion of red wine polyphenols in the diet.“
Maria Isabel Queipo-Ortuno, María Boto-Ordonez, Mora Murri, Juan Miguel Gomez-Zumaquero, Mercedes Clemente-Postigo, Francisco J Tinahones, et al. “Influence of red wine polyphenols and ethanol on the gut microbiota ecology and biochemical biomarkers.” Am J Clin Nutr., June 2012.