Background: Alcohol and polyphenols in wine and fruit juices have been strongly implicated in the favourable effects on of these beverages on vascular function. Despite a wealth of information on the metabolic and vascular effects of alcohol and polyphenols, the combined influences of these substances on vascular function, especially when consumed with food, is poorly understood. A study was designed to determine the effects of a phenolic-rich grape juice, with or without alcohol, on vascular endothelial function in the postprandial state.
Methods: Ten subjects consumed a standard meal with a test drink on three separate occasions. On each occasion, the test drink accompanying the meal was either red grape juice, red grape juice plus alcohol (12% v/v), or water. Endothelial function was measured by flow mediated dilatation (FMD) prior to then 30 and 60 minutes after consuming the meal. Blood samples were taken for the determination of plasma glucose, triacylglycerol (TAG) and non esterified fatty acids (NEFA) at regular intervals.
Results: There was a significant effect of the three treatments (P = 0.0026) and time (P = 0.021) on percentage FMD. The meals with the grape juice and grape juice plus alcohol produced similar FMD responses but were both significantly greater than the meal with water. The concentration of plasma glucose, TAG and NEFA were similar after each treatment.
Conclusion: Alcohol had no effect on vascular function in the early postprandial phase. These findings provide new evidence to support the potential benefit of non-alcoholic components within alcoholic beverages on vascular function in the fed state.