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Can Red Wine Reduce High Blood Pressure in Menopausal Women?

Posted Nov 18 2008 1:09pm

Did you know that in recent studies scientist’s found that chemicals found in red wine can help high blood pressure in women over fifty . Post menopausal women are at a greater risk of hypertension than men of the same age, which increases the need for medical intervention.

The study led by Rocío López-Sepúlveda, a researcher at the department of pharmacology at the University of Granada, found that red-wine polyphenols can offer protection against cardiovascular disease. One such polyphenol, resveratrol has shown potential for treating and preventing disorders, such as heart and lung disease and some forms of cancer. But the compounds' effects on women's blood vessels was particularly important because of the high incidence and risk of hypertension in women after menopause.

The study used female rats that were genetically engineered to have high blood pressure. The researchers then stimulated menopause by removing the rats' ovaries, after which time the rats' blood pressure rose (due to their altered DNA). The scientists treated half the rats with a mixture of several types of red-wine chemicals associated with improved circulation, including resveratrol, for a period of five weeks. The remaining rats served as a control group, and received only water along with their diet.

After five weeks, the scientists examined the rats' blood vessels. They found that the high blood pressure had been alleviated in the rats that received a regular red-wine-compound treatment added to their food. The rats had more relaxed aortas, healthier linings to the veins and arteries, as well as less oxidative stress—all of which are associated with lower blood pressure.

The scientists cautioned, however that while their results indicate that the risk of hypertension in postmenopausal women could potentially be reduced through the use of regular red-wine-chemical supplements, the results may not extend to women who drink red wine. Not only was red wine itself not used in the study, the authors noted that the exact mechanisms involved in red-wine polyphenols alleviating high blood pressure remain unclear, and require further study.

So it isn’t clear that red wine can help high blood pressure in post menopausal women, however it seems that there is a good correlation based on the positive effects of the chemicals found in wine. In the meantime, I’ll continue to have my glass of red wine every night to see if it makes a difference. Cheers!
photo: Anturi
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