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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002;505:95-111.

Potential health benefits from the flavonoids in grape products on vascular disease.

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Coronary Thrombosis Research Laboratory, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison 53792-3248, USA.


In the dog, monkey, a nd human we have shown that 5 ml/kg of red wine or 5-10 ml/kg of purple grape juice but not orange or grapefruit juice inhibits platelet activity, and protects against epinephrine activation of platelets. Red wine and purple grape juice enhances platelet and endothelial production of nitric oxide (Fitzpatrick et al., 1993, Parker et al., 2000). This is thought to be one of the mechanisms whereby purple grape juice significantly improved endothelial function in 15 patients with coronary artery disease. The consumption of purple grape juice by the patients also offered increased protection against LDL cholesterol oxidation, even though all the patients were also taking another antioxidant vitamin E, 400 IU/day. The number of people and animals in these studies was small; however, each one acted as their own control as measurements were made in each before, and then after consumption of red wine or purple grape juice. Thus these studies are thought to be significant. We feel that the results of these studies are encouraging and justify further research on larger numbers of subjects. This suggests that the flavonoids in purple grape juice and red wine may inhibit the initiation of atherosclerosis by one or more of the mechanisms described above. It will take years to fully characterize the potential benefits of daily consumption of red wine or purple grape juice for maintaining a healthy heart. Based on the existing evidence of antiplatelet and antioxidant benefits and improved endothelial function from red wine and purple grape juice, it seems reasonable to suggest that moderate amounts of red wine or purple grape juice be included among the 5-7 daily servings of fruits and vegetables per day as recommended by the American Heart Association to help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

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