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04/11/2019 – News / Beverages / Health / Red Wine / Polyphenols / Microbiota / UK

Researchers raise a glass to red wine's gut health benefits

Researchers raise a glass to red wine's

Having a diverse gut microbiota is a sign of gut health – and new research from King’s College London suggests that red wine can help provide it.

A team of researchers from the college’s Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology studied the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine, and spirits on the gut microbiome of a group of 916 female twins from the UK. Their study showed that the gut of red wine drinkers contained a greater number of different bacterial species compared with those who did not drink it. White wine, beer, or spirits did not produce the same effect.


It’s all about the polyphenols


“While we have long known of the unexplained benefits of red wine on heart health, this study shows that moderate red wine consumption is associated with greater diversity and healthier gut microbiota that partly explain its long debated beneficial effects on health,” said Caroline Le Roy, first author of the study. 


The researchers attribute the benefits to the fact that red wine is rich in beneficial polyphenols, which serve as 'fuel' for the microbial population of the gut. 


The study findings, which appear in the journal Gastroenterology, also showed that drinking red wine was associated with lower levels of obesity and 'bad' cholesterol. The effect of red wine on gut microbial diversity held true for three different study cohorts: one in the US, another in the UK, and one in Belgium.

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