Drinking red wine before smoking may prevent some of the vascular injury caused by smoking in occasional smokers, according to new research published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Saarland (Germany), enrolled twenty healthy non-smoking volunteers to drink red wine one hour before smoking 3 cigarettes. The amount of red wine consumed was calculated to result in 0.75% blood alcohol content. Blood and urine were collected before and after drinking and smoking and continued until 18 hours after smoking. 

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Results showed that those who drank the red wine before smoking did not display the cellular changes that smoking is known to cause; such as microparticles being released into the bloodstream from endothelial cells, platelets, and monocytes indicating cell damage in blood cells.

Additionally, the group that smoked without drinking red wine had a 56% decrease in telomerase activity while the drinking group showed only a 20% decrease. Telomeres are thought of as ‘protective caps’ on chromosomes.

These findings demonstrate the potential of red wine as a protective strategy to avert markers of vascular injury. “Our study adds to the present evidence that the proinflammatory effects in nonsmokers with ‘occasional lifestyle smoking’ could be prevented by red wine consumption,” said lead investigator Viktoria Schwarz, MD.

The study only included young, healthy nonsmokers, so it is unclear whether these findings apply to the elderly or chronic smokers.  

For more information visit amjmed.com.