OPCs, Resveratrol and Red Wine

Does Resveratrol have anything to do with the beneficial effects of red wine ? In a word: NO ! Absolutely not. If you want to enjoy the health benefits of resveratrol you must use dosages that cannot be obtained by drinking red wine. You would have to drink 1.000 or more bottles of red wine every day.
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Does Resveratrol have anything to do with the beneficial effects of red wine ? In a word: NO ! Absolutely not. If you want to enjoy the health benefits of resveratrol you must use dosages that cannot be obtained by drinking red wine. You would have to drink 1.000 or more bottles of red wine every day. The dosages of resveratrol required to obtain health benefits far exceed the amounts present in your daily diet. That resveratrol is involved in producing the health benefits of red wine is a fallacy. 

The importance of red wine for human health has become common knowledge. There has never been any doubt that OPCs make the greatest contribution to the healthy aspects of red wine. The link between red wine and cardiovascular health has been well documented. During the early 1990s researchers and their industrial partners began looking for other beneficial solid components present in red wine. One of these components is the substance called resveratrol. In spite of the fact that red wine contains only in infinitely small quantities and biologically irrelevant quantities of resveratrol, the “resveratrolls” routinely make the suggestion that there is a connection between red wine’s beneficial effects and resveratrol. Well, there isn’t.

Red wine contains at best a 2 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per bottle. Per glas, you this make 0.3 to 0.5 milligram. A few glasses of red wine will give you 1 to 2 milligrams of resveratrol. Most studies supporting the beneficial effects of resveratrol concerned pharmacological dosages of several hundreds of milligrams or more. Still, to give consumers of resveratrol-supplements the impression that commercially available resveratrol is made from the skins of the grapes. Well, it isn’t. Most if not all of the resveratrol found in food supplements is synthetic. In these dosages, resveratrol has nothing to do with food, dietary intake or nutrition.

So, if there’s a connection between red wine and health, this is because red wine contains OPCs. How much ? In 2000, Hammerstone and colleagues studied the proanthocyanidin content of red wine and other commonly consumed foods. They found that red wine contains 22.0 mg proanthocyanidins per 3.5 oz serving (3.5 US fl oz = 103.507 ml). On average, this equals 26.57 mg per 125 ml glass of red wine. The the proanthocyanidin concentration of red wine may vary between varieties and vinification methods used. White wines do not contain relevant amounts of OPCs. In 2006, Gonzalez-Manzano and colleagues characterized the nature of procyanidins present in red wines and concluded that red wines predominantly contained dimers and trimers of flavan-3-ols, the OPCs.

Red wine and OPCs are best known for the cardiovascular benefits. However, a Spanish team of researchers found that wine drinkers also suffer less from the viral infection we all know as the common cold. The findings of the study, which was published in 2002 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, tell us that there is an inverse or opposite relationship “between the consumption of wine, but not other alcoholic beverages, and the incidence of common cold. This inverse association persisted after adjustment for total alcohol intake, smoking, and known risk factors for common cold.” Which means that beer, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages do not seem to affect the incidence of common cold. “Among those participants consuming both red and white wine, the association was even stronger among those consuming red wine exclusively.”

Obviously, the quantities of OPCs required to produce their well known cardiovascular and other health benefits ‒ 100 to 200 milligrams per day ‒ are well within the range normal consumption of healthy foods and drinks, especially when those drinks include moderate amounts of red wine. Does this mean that red wine will do what well researched OPCs-extracts such as Masquelier’s OPCs will do ? Well, no. The relationship between red wine and health was established by investigating the dietary habits of large populations. The findings do not imply benefits for each individual person in those populations. Meaning that you may or may not benefit from drinking a glass of red wine. So, if you want to enjoy the health benefits of red wine, you must supplement your diet with OPCs, even when you drink red wine.

Most certainly, a varied and balanced daily diet could provide a daily quantity of 200 to 300 mg of OPCs on condition that it contains a good number of OPCs-rich foods. However, such a diet - if it could be formulated and maintained over time in terms of quality and composition - would still require a clinical showing of having a beneficial effect. In addition, most people have a hard time to steadily follow a very healthy diet, because “eating healthy” often requires a lasting change in consumption and purchasing habits. A dietary increase in “OPCs” would not necessarily produce the results obtained with the OPCs developed by Dr. Masquelier, as they were verified in numerous well controlled clinical trials. By the way, food supplements containing OPCs should not be used as substitutes for such a balanced and varied diet, but as dietary supplements. And, with regard to resveratrol supplements, take them when you feel you need them, but don’t associate them with the health benefits of red wine.