A Scientists Who Studies The Interactions Of Plants And Animals Wine and Health – An Introduction

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Wine and Health – An Introduction

The use of wine and our strong beliefs about its health benefits, despite abstainers and naysayers, are probably as old as wine itself dating back to the first civilizations in the ancient world. In Mesopotamia ca. third millennium BC, the Babylonians believed that wine had medicinal and therapeutic effects and was considered so pure and unpolluted that it was preferred along with beer over water. In Ancient Egypt more than two thousand years before Christ, wine also became a common ingredient in “prescription medicines” for curing a variety of ailments. Medicines were formulated using other ingredients as well, such as water and especially those derived from medicinal plants.

And stories abound from the Far East where the Chinese mixed wine with animal parts to concoct drugs to cure almost any disease. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who had a keen sense of physiological and metabolic reactions in the human body, not only used wine as a prescription medicine in Ancient Greece, but also made it an antiseptic for treatment of wounds.

The connection between wine and its medicinal and therapeutic benefits was strengthened during different eras and from the Middle Ages to modern times. So compelling was the connection that after the death rate of convicts and emigrants treated with wine aboard ships bound for Australia in the early nineteenth century fell, it led to the establishment of vineyards and wineries by British doctors in throughout the rest of the century. Many such wineries have grown into global businesses responsible for some of the world’s largest wine productions. For example, Lindemans and Penfolds were founded in the early 1840s by Dr. Henry J. Lindeman and Christopher R. Penfold, respectively.

But as wine became an integral part of religions since biblical times and the evils of alcohol took root in society, wine, its health benefits, and its sociological impacts became highly controversial and gave rise to the temperance movement against alcohol in colonial America. In 1916, federal health authorities removed alcohol from United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), “the official public standard-setting authority for all prescription and over-the-counter drugs and other health care products manufactured or sold in the United States.” Then in 1920, the Volstead Act was passed under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution making the manufacture, sale, importation, and distribution of alcohol illegal, which lasted until 1933 when the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified to repeal the National Prohibition. During Prohibition, consumption of alcohol and home-made wine for personal use was still permitted, although each state and often cities or counties were left to implement further control according to local needs. Wine for sacramental and medicinal uses was also excluded. In Canada, the provinces had already begun enforcing prohibition laws in 1917.

Much research on the health benefits of wine has been documented especially since the nineteenth century. But the temperance movement was strong and gained new momentum in the 1980s in its advocacy of alcohol’s ills on public health. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a now highly influential organization, was first founded in 1980. Then, during Ronald Reagan’s first presidential term in the 1980s, First Lady Nancy Reagan launched the awareness campaign ” Just Say No” which naturally involved alcoholic beverages. . Senator James Strom Thurmond, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 1993 and whose wife later became an alcoholic, was a longtime staunch anti-alcohol advocate. He led the charge to implement (in 1988) the now familiar warning on the labels of all wine sold in the US. ) the text reads as follows:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Drinking alcohol impairs your ability to drive or operate machinery and may cause health problems.

But there was a big turn in 1991 when the French scientist Dr. Serge Renaud publicized his theory of the French Paradox, which observed that the French suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), which is the leading cause of death in industrialized countries. despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats found in, for example, eggs, dairy products and especially cheese and meat. Renaud’s work catapulted sales of red wine in the US and a renewed interest in the health benefits of wine when CBS broadcast The French paradox TV segment on 60 minutes that same year. The French paradox, countless epidemiological studies and laboratory studies and experiments, such as those of the renowned Kaiser-Permanente cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Klatsky, make a strong case for asserting a J- or U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality rates. More specifically, these showed that moderate alcohol consumption resulted in a lower mortality rate compared to abstainers and heavy drinkers. Also, moderate consumption has also been associated with a lower rate of morbidity(s).

Moderate consumption is generally defined to represent 14 g of pure alcohol (ethanol) per day which can be obtained from 148 ml (5 fl oz) of 12 percent alcohol wine—be careful with that “two glasses a day” guideline—or from 355 ml (12 floz) of beer with five percent alcohol or from 44 ml (1½ floz) of forty percent alcoholic drink. And to enjoy and maximize the health benefits of moderate drinking, consumption should be daily rather than average, for example drinking seven times the recommended amount at a Saturday night party, and should be part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise.

Since 1999, wine intended for the US market could then be labeled by TTB approval with a directed Health claims directing consumers to “consult [their] family physician regarding the health benefits of wine consumption” or request the publication of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dietary Guidelines for Americans “To learn the health effects of wine consumption.” But Senator Thurmond and abstinence advocates like the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and MADD struck back and effectively forced the TTB in 2003 to defeat the guidance statements on the labels on the grounds that they were inherently misleading and confusing and gave the impression that the government endorsed the health benefits of alcohol consumption, which encouraged consumers to consume further. After all, the whole premise of alcohol control is that wine, beer, and distilled spirits are considered intoxicants, not drugs.

The wine industry, with the support of such trade organizations as the Wine Institute and the Association of American Vintners (AVA), lobbied federal agencies for more substantial health claims and reached a compromise of sorts. Henceforth, under the authority of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), the new TTB regulations stipulated in part that:

A specific health claim on a label or in an advertisement is considered misleading unless the claim is true and adequately supported by scientific evidence; detailed and properly qualified in relation to the categories of individuals to whom the request applies; adequately discloses the health risks associated with moderate and heavier levels of alcohol consumption; and describes the categories of individuals for whom any level of alcohol consumption may cause health risks.

Such requirements have made it nearly impossible to obtain approval to include health claims, directed or substantive, on labels or in advertising, specifically that the claims must contain a disclaimer “advising consumers that the statement should not encourage the consumption of alcohol for health reasons, … According to Richard Mendelson in From Lover to Demon: A Legal History of Summer in Americanot a single health claim has been approved by TTB since the regulation came into force.

But there is hope. There has been great progress in the last decade on the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. Although we – with the exception of anti-alcohol advocates – have been eager for more good news on the role of wine in our health, the research is still far from complete given the often conflicting findings and the breadth of illnesses, diseases and ailments in which is summer. it is believed to have effects. The list ranges from heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes to arthritis and osteoporosis, and yes, even erectile dysfunction to name a few. But a major focus of course has been on cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

In future articles, we’ll explore the science behind the complex interactions between wine and health that are so near and dear to our hearts—literally.

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