Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine

Date:
September 9, 2003
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
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.

NEW YORK, Sept. 8 — 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030909070840.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2003, September 9). New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030909070840.htm
American Chemical Society. "New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030909070840.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins