Background: No intervention studies have explored the anti-inflammatory effects of different alcoholic beverages on markers of atherosclerosis. We embarked on a randomized, crossover, single-blinded trial to evaluate the effects of wine and gin on inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis.
Methods and results: Forty healthy men (mean age, 37.6 years) consumed 30 g ethanol per day as either wine or gin for 28 days. Before and after each intervention, we measured the expression of lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1), Mac-1, very late activation antigen 4 (VLA-4), and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP-1) in monocytes, as well as the soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha), C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and fibrinogen. After either gin or wine consumption, plasma fibrinogen decreased by 5 and 9%, respectively, and cytokine IL-1alpha by 23 and 21%. The expression of LFA-1 (-27%), Mac-1 (-27%), VLA-4 (-32%) and MCP-1 (-46%) decreased significantly after wine, but not after gin. Wine reduced the serum concentrations of hs-CRP (-21%), VCAM-1 (-17%) and ICAM-1 (-9%).
Conclusions: Both wine and gin showed anti-inflammatory effects by reducing plasma fibrinogen and IL-1alpha levels. However, wine had the additional effect of decreasing hs-CRP, as well as monocyte and endothelial adhesion molecules.