While wine lovers have always assumed that red wine benefits the heart, they never really knew exactly how it did so. But thanks to a group of scientists from China, we now know. It’s all because of that magical compound resveratrol and the impact it has on the bacteria in our gut. Yes, you read that right, by influencing our gut bacteria, resveratrol improves our heart health.
According to the American Society of Microbiology, which published the study, the gut microbiome plays a role in the build up of plaque inside arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red wine, is thought to have antioxidant properties that influence that microbe and thereby protect against conditions such as heart disease.
Here are the nitty gritty details from the study:
Researchers conducted a number of experiments in mice to determine whether the protective effect of resveratrol against atherosclerosis was related to changes in the gut microbiome. They found that resveratrol reduces levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a known contributor to the development of atherosclerosis. They also found that resveratrol inhibits TMA production by gut bacteria (TMA is necessary for the production of TMAO).
“In our current study, we found that resveratrol can remodel the gut microbiota, including increasing the Bacteroidetes-to-Firmicutes ratios, significantly inhibiting the growth of Prevotella, and increasing the relative abundance of Bacteroides, Lactobacillus,Bifidobacterium, and Akkermansia in mice,” said Dr. Mi. “Resveratrol reduces TMAO levels by inhibiting the gut microbial TMA formation via remodeling gut microbiota.”
While the study has not yet been completed in humans, with mice being the test subjects in this study, researchers say that’s the next step. If that study involves drinking wine, sign us up.