Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New cholesterol fighter found in red wine

09.09.2003


Scientists have known for some time that red wine is healthy for the heart. Now, they have found evidence that provides yet another explanation for this effect.



Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have identified another group of chemicals in red wine that is linked to the ability to lower cholesterol. Called saponins, these glucose-based plant compounds are being found in an increasing number of foods. This is the first time they’ve been found in wine, says Andrew Waterhouse, Ph.D., Professor of Enology (wine chemistry) at the University of California, Davis.

His finding was described today at the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.


For the most part, the so-called French Paradox — the association between red wine and decreased heart disease — has been attributed to resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, which acts as an antioxidant. But saponins could be just as important.

"Saponins are a hot new food ingredient. People are just starting to pay attention to it," says study leader Waterhouse. "No one ever thought to look for it in wine."

The compounds are believed to come from the waxy skin of grapes, which dissolve into the wine during its fermentation process. To better understand their distribution in wine, Waterhouse conducted a preliminary study of six varieties of California wines — four red and two white — and compared them on the basis of their saponin content.

"Average dietary saponin intake has been estimated at 15 mg, while one glass of red has a total saponin concentration of about half that, making red wine a significant dietary source," the researcher says.

In general, Waterhouse found that red wine contains significantly higher saponin levels than white — about three to ten times as much. Among the red wines tested, red Zinfandel contained the highest levels. Syrah had the second highest, followed by Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, which had about the same amount. The white varieties tested, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay, contained much less.

Although Merlot was not analyzed in this study, Waterhouse believes it contains significant amounts of saponins at levels comparable to the other red wines.

The study also seems to show a positive correlation between alcohol content and saponin levels. The red Zinfandel tested, which contained the highest level of saponins among all the wines tested, also had the highest level of alcohol, at 16 percent. "We think that alcohol may make the saponins more soluble in wine, but follow up studies are needed," says Waterhouse, who is considered an expert on wine chemistry.

According to Waterhouse, red wines contain about the same amount of saponin as they do resveratrol. But while resveratrol is thought to block cholesterol oxidation by its antioxidant action, saponins are believed to work by binding to and preventing the absorption of cholesterol, he says. He also mentioned that saponins are known to affect inflammation pathways, an effect that could have implications in heart disease and cancer, according to published studies.

Besides wine, other foods containing significant amounts of saponins include olive oil and soybeans. The compounds are even more abundant in desert plants such as the Yucca and Quillaja. For the most part, saponins make up the waxy coating of these plants, where they function primarily for protection.

The University of California-Davis provided funding for this study.


###
The poster on this research, AGFD 79, will be presented at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8, at the Javits Convention Center, North Pavillion, during the "Sci-Mix" symposium.

Andrew L. Waterhouse, Ph.D., is Professor of Enology at the University of California, Davis.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>