November 4, 2009

How wine could be bad for
your heart and brain

If you like to drink wine regularly, you probably do so thinking you're helping your heart. But what if that glass of wine were actually hurting your heart — and your brain? According to a recent British study, it's possible.

The researchers in this study found something very surprising about many red and white wines. The wines they tested contain potentially dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals.

The researchers found high levels of seven metal ions (vanadium, chromium, manganese, nickel, copper, zinc, and lead) in wines from 15 countries. These included countries in Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

The researchers used a system called target hazard quotients (THQ). A THQ of 1.0 or less is considered safe. Over 1.0 is potentially hazardous — contributing to heart disease and dementia.

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Most of the wines they sampled had THQs at levels between 5 and 200 per glass. Some were as high as 350. That's extremely high — and very worrisome. Wines from Hungary and Slovakia contained the most heavy metals. Italy, Brazil, and Argentina were the only countries out of the 15 that had THQs of 1.0 or less.

While the researchers didn't test any U.S. wines, there's just no way to know if any wine is clean. Some pesticides contain metal-containing chemicals. The grape crush fluids could come in contact with metal components and leach out the toxins. There are so many possibilities that it's impossible to know for sure if a wine is free from metal.

I don't mean to be a party pooper. I once enjoyed a glass of wine or one high-quality beer a day before I became a teetotaler. But I don't think wine is as healthy as most experts say it is. Yes, there are powerful nutrients in wine. However, the alcohol — and now the metals — outweigh the good.

The researchers were not concerned about the metal levels in one glass (8 oz) of wine a day. I tend to agree. But any more than that could be hazardous. And I'm also not too worried about organic wines. These wineries are more concerned about purity. I'm sure other wineries are likely to follow suit with testing and labeling.

If you really want to get the protective nutrients from grapes, there's a much healthier way to do so in resveratrol. You get substantially higher concentrations of the nutrients without any of the metals or alcohol. But you have to make sure your resveratrol is pure — like the product sold by Advanced Bionutritionals.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

PS. While you will recognize some of the metals found in wine as nutritional (such as zinc, copper, and manganese), all minerals need to be properly complexed with other food molecules for proper biological activity. Free metals, including nutritional metals, can be highly toxic.

Ref: Chemistry Central Journal. 2008. doi:10.1186/1752-153X-2-22.

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