Posted on May 01, 2009, 10 a.m.
By gary clark
Dutch researchers find that drinking a small amount of wine each day can increase life expectancy – up to five years, in fact – twice that of study participants who drank a combination of wine, beer and other spirits.
Over the course of more than four decades - from 1960 to 2000 - Dutch researchers followed 1,373 men, repeatedly recording their eating and drinking habits. The Dutch study - named the Zutphen Study after the town where the researchers recruited participants - found that compared to men who didn't drink at all, those men who consumed approximately 20 grams of alcohol a day (of wine, beer and other types of spirits) added 2.5 years to their life expectancy at age 50. And more significantly, they found that those men who consumed wine only added five years to their life expectancy.
It has long been known that moderate drinking is tied to a lower risk of heart disease, most likely because it increases good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) and reduces platelet clumping and associated clot formations. However, this is the first study to show that one type of alcohol has greater health benefits than another. "In this study, 70 percent of all wine consumed was red wine," notes lead researcher Marinette Streppel of the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and colleagues in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, where the study was just published. "This suggests that the cardio-protective effect of wine could be due to a protective effect of polyphenol compounds in red wine, but other explanations cannot be ruled out."
While the study findings link long-term light alcohol intake with lower cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and all-cause mortality risk, more studies are needed to verify this result.
News Release: Wine adds five years to life, more than beer, Dutch study finds www.bloomberg.com April 29, 2009