A new study from King’s College London has identified a link between drinking red wine and increased gut microbiota diversity compared to non-red wine drinkers. The study also found an association with lower levels of obesity and cholesterol.
Published on 28 August in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers from the Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology at King’s investigated the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits on the gut microbiome (GM) and subsequent health on a group of 916 UK female twins.
The results revealed that that the GM of red wine drinkers was more diverse compared to non-red wine drinkers. This trend was not observed with white wine, beer or spirits consumption.
The collection of microorganisms in an environment, known as the ‘microbiome’, plays an important role in human health. Increased gut microbiota diversity is a sign of gut health, which is an ongoing preoccupation for consumers – demand is on the rise for kombucha, kefir and other products with a ‘gut health’ claim.
Corresponding results were observed in three different cohorts in the UK, the US and the Netherlands. The authors took into account factors such as age, weight, the regular diet and socioeconomic status of the participants, and continued to see the association.
The main reason for the association is attributed to the many polyphenols in red wine, which have beneficial properties including antioxidants, and act as a fuel for the microbes present in the digestive system.
First author of the study Caroline Le Roy commented: “Drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect. If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, that is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease. However, it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation.”
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