Effects of wine, alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease risk factors: evidences from human studies

Alcohol Alcohol. 2013 May-Jun;48(3):270-7. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agt007. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Aims: The aim of this review was to focus on the knowledge of the cardiovascular benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, as well as to analyze the effects of the different types of alcoholic beverages.

Methods: Systematic revision of human clinical studies and meta-analyses related to moderate alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) from 2000 to 2012.

Results: Heavy or binge alcohol consumption unquestionably leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, moderate alcohol consumption, especially alcoholic beverages rich in polyphenols, such as wine and beer, seems to confer cardiovascular protective effects in patients with documented CVD and even in healthy subjects.

Conclusions: In conclusion, wine and beer (but especially red wine) seem to confer greater cardiovascular protection than spirits because of their polyphenolic content. However, caution should be taken when making recommendations related to alcohol consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Beverages / toxicity
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Beer
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / therapeutic use
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Ethanol / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Wine*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Lipids
  • Polyphenols
  • Ethanol