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There is a general acceptance among researchers, physicians and even the general population that the consumption of moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages may have beneficial effect in the heart. A large number of experimental, clinical and epidemiological studies presumably give scientific support to this perception. There have been reports on favourable effects of different alcoholic beverages on several surrogate end-points of atherosclerosis, such as blood lipoproteins, clotting and fibrinolytic factors, endothelin and oxidative stress. Wine is the prototype beverage associated to cardioprotection, with additional positive consequences in the cardiovascular system allegedly attributed to the presence of natural polyphenols, particularly resveratrol. The mechanisms involved in the potential cardioprotective effects of polyphenols are numerous and include antioxidant, vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, antiapoptotic and anti-ischaemic properties. Recent experimental data also demonstrate that polyphenols can exert its cardioprotective effect via the activation of several powerful prosurvival cellular pathways.1 Unfortunately, all these persuasive data must be interpreted with great caution in the clinical arena for several reasons. Data from observational studies have intrinsic methodological pitfalls …
Funding No funding related to this paper.
Competing interests None declared.
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Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.