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Hypertension. 2005 May;45(5):874-9. Epub 2005 Apr 18.

Red wine and beer elevate blood pressure in normotensive men.

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School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Royal Perth Hospital Unit, University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia.


A positive relationship between alcohol consumption and blood pressure (BP) is well-established but the relative effect of specific alcoholic beverages is controversial. This study aimed to determine whether red wine may improve vascular function and have less of an impact on blood pressure because of its high content of antioxidant vasodilator polyphenolic compounds. Healthy normotensive men entered a 4-period crossover study comparing in random order 4 weeks of control-abstinence with similar periods of daily consumption of red wine (375 mL; 39 grams alcohol), de-alcoholized red wine (375 mL), or beer (1125 mL; 41 grams alcohol). Ambulatory systolic BP and diastolic BP and heart rate (HR) were measured together with vascular function as assessed by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and glyceryl trinitrate-mediated (GTNMD) dilatation of the brachial artery. The systolic and diastolic BP and HR were not different between control-abstinence and de-alcoholized red wine. However, compared with control-abstinence, both red wine and beer increased awake systolic BP (2.9 and 1.9 mm Hg, respectively; P<0.05) and asleep HR (5.0 and 4.4 bpm; P<0.05). There were no specific effects of red wine, de-alcoholized red wine, or beer on FMD or GTNMD. Daily consumption of approximately 40 grams alcohol as either red wine or beer for 4 weeks results in similar increases in systolic BP and HR. De-alcoholized red wine did not lower BP, and neither red wine nor de-alcoholized red wine influenced vascular function, suggesting that red wine polyphenolics do not have a significant role in mitigating the blood pressure-elevating effects of alcohol in men.

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