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Semin Vasc Med. 2004 May;4(2):173-86.

Drink to prevent: review on the cardioprotective mechanisms of alcohol and red wine polyphenols.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center, Heidelberglaan, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Moderate alcohol consumption has convincingly been associated with decreased cardiovascular mortality in epidemiological studies and metaanalyses. This decreased mortality has been attributed to changes in lipid profiles, decreased coagulation, increased fibrinolysis, inhibition of platelets, increased nitric oxide, and antioxidant capacities of alcoholic beverages. Most of these laboratory and animal studies, as well as small intervention trials in human volunteers, have revealed many interesting mechanisms that contribute to the cardioprotective effects of alcohol, red wine, or red wine polyphenolic compounds. An update on putative mechanisms is presented in this review.

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