As you may know, there is evidence to suggest a link between the consumption of red wine and cardiovascular health. This link is known as the ‘French paradox’ in which there is a broadly positive relationship between wine-drinking regions and life span. Moreover, there is further evidence to suggest that red wine significantly mitigates the ‘Rebound Effect’ that occurs after heavy drinking.
The Rebound Effect
Put simply, alcohol inhibits blood clotting, reducing the risk of thrombosis, embolism, and infarction. Good news, you might think. However, this blood thinning effect only lasts for a short time and, as you sober up, the blood-clotting platelets ‘rebound’ to the point where they have an abnormal propensity to coagulate. This increases the risk of thrombosis, stroke, and sudden death and is called the Rebound Effect.
As mentioned above, there is convincing evidence to suggest that drinking red wine does not produce the Rebound Effect. It took quite some years to establish this fact, beginning in the 1933 when the Frenchman Dougnac found a relationship between regions where people reached a remarkably high age and the consumption of red wine. This effect was not found in regions where people consumed spirits such as calvados. Then, in 1944, a colleague of Professor Jack Masquelier called Lavollay observed that red wine stabilized the vascular system of guinea pigs.
OPCs and red wine
During the 1950s, Jack Masquelier discovered the presence of OPCs in the seeds of wine grapes, after having first identified them in maritime pine bark. This inevitably led to speculation that the protective properties of red wine lay in OPCs, one of its nonalcoholic constituents.
Eventually, in 1994, the Frenchman Serge Renaud at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research was able to conclusively demonstrate that the Rebound Effect does not occur when one drinks red wine, but does occur when one drinks white wine or “water+alcohol” type spirits. He also found that red wine perpetuated the 59 percent reduction in blood clotting that occurs during the initial alcohol intake.
Since red wine does contain OPCs and white wine does not, the OPCs could be identified as the factor that produces the cardiovascular benefits attributed to red wine. It also confirmed the fact that red wine drinkers have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of suffering from coronary heart diseases than do people who consume water+alcohol type beverages.
Red wine all the way this Christmas?
So, does this mean that you can binge drink red wine and assume it will have a beneficial effect this Christmas? Sadly the answer is ‘no’, because although there is a link between red wine and cardiovascular health based on epidemiological research, there can be no direct connection between a specific bottle of wine and a benefit to your health.
This is because some red wines will contain more OPCs than others while some will contain none at all. And different red wines will contain different OPCs. This information is not on the label and you are not in a position to perform tests on every bottle of wine you buy. The fact is that the association between red wine and health is not wine- and individual-specific. Instead, it is very generalized and dispersed between millions of random bottles and millions of different people. It is simply impossible to select a particular red wine and say with any certainty that it will benefit you in a specific way.
Rebounding to Masquelier’s OPCs
It is, however, possible to state that Masquelier’s OPCs will have specific beneficial effects in terms of your cardiovascular health, including the mitigation or even elimination of the Rebound Effect.
So as you pop the cork in the red this Christmas, remember to pop your daily dose of Masquelier’s OPCs into your mouth. Because however good it tastes, you can never trust your bottle of red wine when it comes to OPCs and their many health benefits. Not even if it’s a 1950 Petrus!