Red wine prevents heart disease

Margaret Fehrenbach

How can red wine help the gut microbiome to prevent heart disease?

Author: Yvette Brazier

An article published in Medical News today on April 5, 2016 explained that researchers, led by Man-tian Mi, PhD, of the Research Center for Nutrition and Food Safety in Chongqing China, discovered a connection between red wine and heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the US and is becoming a major health problem, with atherosclerosis affecting 80-90% of Americans over the age of 30. Recent research has shown that the gut microbiome has an impact on the development of atherosclerosis. The research team focused on the plant compound called Resveratrol that occurs naturally in peanuts, grapes, red wine, and some berries. It is a polyphenol that is said to have antioxidant properties that protect against heart disease, specifically clotting. Through a series of experiments conducted on mice the team found that resverartol affects the gut microbiome and that it reduces levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which is known to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Resveratol also inhibits the gut's production of TMA, which is needed for the production of TMAO. Dr. Mi expressed that these findings could make gut microbiota a target for pharmacological or dietary interventions in order to lower the risk of developing cardivascular disease. The next step in the research would be to replicate the results of resveratrol on the gut microbiome in humans. One cause for concern is that resveratrol is quickly metabolized and eliminated in the human body giving it a low bio availability.
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Article Critique

This article was well written and did present with logical scientific reasoning and included a study from an identified source to support its findings. The author, Yvette Brazier is an English teacher who specializes in the Health science department of a large technical college. Although does not have a medical degree she does include references at the bottom of the article and sites her sources of information, including a direct quote from the leader of the research project. However, the study was only tested on mice, which does not show the potential benefits or adverse effects it may have on humans. The article contained a lot of medical jargon which can be hard for the general public to understand. It included long medical terms that were left unexplained which could create misinterpretation and confusion for readers. The article can be found on the website medicalnewstoday.com which displays adds that cause concern for the accuracy of the information included. When referring back to the article I noticed that the plant compound resveratrol can be found in not only red wine but also grapes, peanuts and some berries. Therefor, the public should not be urged to consume red wine because there are alternative sources of this substance that do not have the effects that alcohol has on the body. The article makes the impression that drinking red wine is a healthy preventative measure for heart disease but it does not go into detail about the risks of over consumption of red wine. Some individuals who lack health literacy may take this information to the extreme and use it as a reason to abuse red wine, which can lead to a variety of health conditions including liver damage and alcoholism. The article does state that in the future it would be ideal if they could discover a natural polyphenol without any side effects that could be used to treat cardiovascular disease. However, until this information is found, red wine as a source of heart disease prevention should not be advertised to the general public.

References

Brazier, Y. (2016, April 5). "How can red wine help the gut microbiome to prevent heart disease? ." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308669.php.


DeBruyne, L. K., & Pinna, K. C. (2014). Nutrition for Health in Healthcare (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Yolanda Cossio. pg. 33-36.