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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2001 Jun;11(3):176-80.

Effect of wine ethanol on serum iron and ferritin levels in patients with coronary heart disease.

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Laboratoire du Stress Cardiovasculaire et Pathologies Associées, UFR de Médecine et Pharmacie, Domaine de la Merci, 38706 La Tronche, Grenoble, France.



The association between high body iron stores and coronary heart disease (CHD) is a subject of intense debate whereas wine consumption is known to be associated with a low CHD rate. It has been suggested that the inhibition of iron absorption is one of the possible mechanisms of the CHD-protective effects of drinking.


We analysed the interrelationships of wine ethanol intake and fasting serum ferritin, iron and gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) in patients enrolled in the Lyon Diet Heart Study, a secondary prevention trial designed to test whether a Mediterranean-type diet may protect against CHD. The intake of wine ethanol was evaluated in the 24 hours preceding blood sampling, and expressed as a percentage of the total daily energy intake. Data were obtained from 437 consecutive patients. There was a positive relationship (Spearman statistics) between wine ethanol and the serum levels of iron (r = 0.21, p < 0.0001), ferritin (r = 0.23, p < 0.0001) and GGT (r = 0.31, p < 0.0001). Uni- and multilinear regression analyses after excluding non-drinkers and log transforming the variables yielded similar results.


The available data showing positive relationships between wine ethanol intake and serum concentrations of both ferritin and iron in patients with CHD tend to disprove the hypothesis that wine ethanol consumption could decrease iron stores and thereby the risk of CHD. Further studies are required to investigate the mechanism(s) by which wine drinking reduces the risk of CHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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