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Why a glass of red wine is good for your gut

Time:2019-08-31 18:07wine - Red wine life health Click:

Your good Wine Glass

Caroline Le Roy, Tim Spector, King's College London


Why a glass of red wine is good for your gut

Caroline Le Roy

Research Associate in Human Gut Microbiome, King's College London

Why a glass of red wine is good for your gut

Tim Spector

Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London

Disclosure statement

Caroline Le Roy receives funding from the CDRF.

Tim Spector receives grants from multiple organisations including MRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR, NIH, CDRF, Danone. He is a scientific founder of ZOE (global) ltd and receives royalties from a book on diet and microbiome "The Diet Myth: the real science behind what we eat" Orion 2016. He also drinks red wine.


King's College London

King's College London provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

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Why a glass of red wine is good for your gut

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Alcohol consumption guidelines vary widely between countries. In the UK and Netherlands, no more than one glass of wine or a pint of beer a day is recommended. In the US it is double these levels, and in Mediterranean countries and Chile it’s even more relaxed when it comes to drinking wine.

Though there is generally a consensus that everyone should drink less and levels of alcohol use are reducing in most countries, especially in young adults, more than 3m (or one in 20) deaths globally are attributed to alcohol consumption – making it 100 times more harmful than cannabis, cocaine and heroin.

Drinking any amount of alcohol is said to increase the risk of many diseases, including cancers, and liver disease. Yet a number of studies also seem to suggest there might be health benefits to a low intake of red wine.

Red wine and the gut

Our new research also adds support to the idea that a small glass of red wine a day might actually be beneficial to your health – specifically to your gut bacteria.

This community of trillions of microbe inhabiting our lower intestines is known as the gut microbiota. Research shows that our gut microbiota can affect multiple aspects of our general health and play a role in many illnesses but also dictate how the food we eat or the drugs we take affect us. This is partly due to the fact that gut microbes are responsible for producing thousands of chemical metabolites, that have effects on our brain, metabolism and immune systems.

Read more: Moving to another country could mess with your gut bacteria

Previous research in small studies in humans and in artificial gut models has suggested that red wine could impact our gut bacteria. And in our recent study we investigated this relationship on a large population scale in different countries to understand how drinking red wine may impact gut health compared to other alcoholic drinks.

We looked at food and drink questionnaire responses and gut bacteria diversity (that is recognised as a marker of gut health) in almost a thousand female twins in the UK, and then checked our results against two other studies of similar size in the US (the American Gut project) and the Belgium (Flemish Gut Project).

Why a glass of red wine is good for your gut

Looks moderate to me. Kinga

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