Wine losing credibility
- By: Helen Morant
Drinking red wine and spirits may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing serum concentrations of the amino acid homocysteine, researchers in the Netherlands have found. Beer does not have the same effect.
In a crossover study of healthy middle aged men, drinking wine increased serum homocysteine levels by 8% and drinking gin increased levels by 9%. These levels of elevated homocysteine are known to correspond with a 10–15% increase in cardiovascular risk.
The 11 non-smoking men were placed on a controlled diet. They each drank mineral water or the equivalent of 40g of alcohol, in the form of beer, red wine or Dutch gin, with their evening meal. Over 12 weeks, the men rotated at random through three-week periods of each drink. Liver function was monitored with blood tests. The amount of alcohol consumed was considered moderate, and no carry-over effects or changes in liver function tests were