Wine and alcohol consumption has been considered to be protective against coronary heart disease development, an oxidative stress associated disease. Wine contains polyphenols displaying antioxidant properties tested in in vitro and in vivo studies. Due to this, a general consensus exists, both among the general public and the scientific community, that wine, particularly red wine, is an antioxidant beverage. Alcohol consumption, however, is associated with oxidative damage. Several studies have been carried out on the antioxidant health benefits of wine and wine polyphenols. However, adequate scientific evidence (Level I or II) is required to be provided before recommendations or statements which can reach the general public can be formulated. Here, we summarize the state of the art of the up-to-date body of knowledge, and the extent to which there exists evidence of the benefits of moderate wine consumption on oxidative damage in humans. From the available data, there is no evidence, at present, that sustained wine consumption provides antioxidant benefits in healthy volunteers other than to counteract a possible pro-oxidative effect of the alcohol. On the contrary, data on the antioxidant protective effect of red wine in oxidative stress situations are promising. In this way, the postprandial oxidative stress after a meal, despite the diversity of biomarkers used for its evaluation, is counteracted by the ingestion of wine. Further studies are warranted.
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