- The gist of this article
Good news for moderate drinkers. A University of California study called the ‘90+ study’ tracked around 1,700 elderly people and discovered that those who drank one or two glasses of wine or beer each day had an 18% reduced risk of premature death compared to those who were teetotal. Other studies have suggested that light alcohol consumption could lower the chances of a heart attack or heart disease.
This won’t have come as a surprise to Professor Jack Masquelier, who often promoted the health benefits of red wine in moderation and, as a proud Frenchman, certainly practiced what he preached. But at the same time he was very aware of the damage that alcohol can cause in the form of oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
The liver and beyond
In particular, he knew that the potential damage caused by alcohol is not confined to the liver, the organ that most of us think of in this regard. This knowledge followed valuable work in the 1980s by French scientist Roger Nordmann and his colleagues. They observed that an alcohol attack on the liver is also felt in the brain as part of a free radical attack on the central nervous system during alcohol intoxication.
What happens is that in order to fight the free radical stress on the liver, the body depletes its enzymatic and nutritional antioxidant defenses elsewhere. Within this process, Nordmann discovered, the level of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the brain decreases, while there is “a highly significant increase in liver mitochondrial superoxide production.” Essentially, SOD is relocated from the brain to the liver to handle the excess of superoxide radicals that follows alcohol intake.
Nordmann also found that the level of vitamin C in the brain decreases in response to alcohol intake. Levels drop because vitamin C is expended on fighting free radicals.
Fight back with OPCs
The best way to counter the effects of alcohol is to ensure that your body is well stocked with Masquelier’s OPCs before you start to drink. OPCs are the anti-oxidants that will compensate for the depletion of SOD in the central nervous system. In short, you will still have enough anti-oxidants in your body to attack free radicals.
Crucially, Masquelier’s OPCs also help to replenish the vitamin C that has been depleted as they respond to the attack by the free radicals. That’s because OPCs are a rich source of electrons that can be ‘donated’ to regenerate the vitamin C compounds.
We’ll drink to that
Thus there is good news all round. You can enjoy the social and physical benefits that alcohol brings – particularly red wine – and you can counter any damage by ensuring that your body and central nervous system is pre-stocked with Masquelier’s OPCs.