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Diet & Health : Heart & Blood Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

A little wine boosts omega-3 in the body
By Ben Wasserman
Dec 5, 2008 - 7:51:05 AM

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Friday Dec 5, 2008 ( -- We have known it for a long time that drinking wine may protect against cardiovascular disease. We just don't know why. A new study suggests that the possible protective effect of wine may be rendered by influencing metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known for its protection against coronary heart disease.

The so-called IMMIDIET study involved 1,604 men and women from three regions, south-west London in England, Limburg in Belgium and Abruzzo in Italy. Researchers surveyed their dietary habits including alcohol consumption.

Romina di Giuseppe from the Research Laboratories at Catholic University of Campobasso and colleagues said there was evidence suggesting that alcohol intake might influence the metabolism of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3. And they found people drinking moderate amounts of alcohol defined as one drink a day for women and two for men had higher concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids in the plasma and red blood cells regardless of their intake of fish, which is the primary source of omega 3 fatty acids.

The study reported in the Jan 2009 issue of the American Society for Nutrition also found that the association was stronger with drinking wine than drinking other alcoholic beverages although the association was also found with other alcoholic beverages.  The researchers said that polyphenols in wine may play a role in the increased concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids.

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