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Showing posts from November, 2010

Hope for wine allergy sufferers

It seems at every talk I give on wine’s contribution to healthy living, there is at least one person in the audience who asks about wine allergies. Maybe they can’t drink red (thereby missing out on a lot of the antioxidant polyphenols), or maybe not wine at all. Sulfites are often blamed, but they are naturally present in all wines, beyond what is commonly added for preservation, and actual sulfite allergies are comparatively rare. What’s more, sulfites are higher in white wine, while allergic reactions are more common to reds. The question of why so many people have reactions to wine has remained largely unanswered until now.


A study from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, and the Agricultural Research Council, Research Unit for Table Grapes and Wine Growing in Turi, Italy has identified a class of molecules called glycoproteins as the culprit. These are ubiquitous biological compounds that are comprised of a sugar portion (glyco-) …

Madeira for malaria?

Of all of the scourges of mankind, malaria ranks near the top of the list, affecting more people worldwide that the entire population of the U.S. It has been notoriously resistant to vaccines, in part because of the complex life cycle of the parasite, which spends part of its development in the mosquito and part inside the red blood cells of people. It is this latter part that raises an interesting possibility for treatment with the red wine compound resveratrol, as reported at a recent meeting of tropical medicine specialists.


You may be familiar with the antibiotic properties of resveratrol and other polyphenol molecules from red wine. These compounds come from the skins, where the grapes form them as part of their natural environmental defense. Plants, and especially ripening fruit, are vulnerable to bacteria, viruses and fungus just as animal are, and this explains the broad spectrum of antibiotic capabilities of resveratrol. Wine’s use as a means of purifying drinking water over…