A research team from the Netherlands assessed the impact of wine and resveratrol (a natural polyphenol found in high quantities in red wine) on lung function. It also looked at genetic factors and mechanisms by which resveratrol might be absorbed by the body and its possible effect on longevity of life. The authors report that pure resveratrol intake was associated with higher lung volumes and that white wine intake (but not red wine intake) and was associated with lower risk of airway obstruction. They report that the genetic factors studied did not relate to the associations found.
While several previous studies (as does this one) have reported that wine intake improves lung function, Forum reviewers were concerned about several aspects of the paper, and especially with the conclusions of the authors that resveratrol was the key factor in improved lung function. A reviewer stated: "Resveratrol may well be just the bystander of something else present in wine." The beneficial effects on lung function are probably related to many compounds present in wine, and not just resveratrol'.
Based on a number of scientific studies, moderate wine intake appears to have a favorable effect on lung function. The doses of resveratrol seen in these epidemiologic studies are at levels that could be expected from moderate wine consumption, unlike the huge doses of resveratrol, which we doubt are capable of being metabolized, being evaluated as a potential life-extending drug in pharmaceutical studies.
Reference: Siedlinski M, Boer JMA, Smit HA, Postma DS, Boezen HM. Dietary factors and lung function in the general population: wine and resveratrol intake. Eur Respir J 2012; 39: 385-391 DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00184110
Comments on this critique by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research were provided by the following members:
Fulvio Ursini, MD, Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Ulrich Keil, MD, PhD, Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
David Vauzour, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
Harvey Finkel, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
Andrew L. Waterhouse, PhD, Marvin Sands Professor, University of California, Davis; Davis, CA, USA
R. Curtis Ellison, MD, Section of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
Giovanni de Gaetano, MD, PhD, Research Laboratories, Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy
For the detailed critique of this paper by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research and a listing of references , go to www.bu.edu/alcohol-forum, click on http://www.bu.edu/alcohol-forum/critique-074-does-moderate-wine-consumption-improve-lung-function-8-march-2012/
The specialists who are members of the Forum are happy to respond to questions from Health Editors regarding emerging research on alcohol and health and will offer an independent opinion in context with other research on the subject.