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Two Recent Studies Point To "Heart-Healthy" Effects Of Drinking Purple Grape Juice

Concord, MA - Two separate studies recently published in leading cardiovascular research journals-one looking at mechanism of action; the other looking at clinical outcomes-point to the "heart healthy" benefits of drinking purple grape juice. In the June 12th issue of Circulation, the official journal of the American Heart Association, researchers showed that drinking grape juice not only has a direct effect on important biological functions of the body but it also appears to increase the body's levels of valuable antioxidants while reducing free radical production.

This study gives us new insight into how purple grape juice may support a healthy cardiovascular system. Jane E. Freedman, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and pharmacology at Georgetown University and the lead author of the study, explains, "What we are seeing for the first time is that the flavonoids in purple grape juice work in two related ways: First, they have a protective effect on vitamin E and other antioxidants, allowing them to remain active longer, while at the same time lowering production of superoxide-a free radical. Second, they also seem to have a direct, positive effect on a number of biological functions of the body."

"This study also supports our previous work published in the Journal of Nutrition, March, 2000," adds John D. Folts, Ph.D., director of the Coronary Thrombosis Research and Prevention Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and a co-author of the Circulation study. "…this study helps explain a mechanism behind the protective effects of purple grape juice."

In the May, 2001 issue of Atherosclerosis, researchers compared the effects of drinking purple grape juice, red wine, and dealcoholized red wine in hamsters. They found that purple grape juice, when compared to red wine and dealcoholized red wine, was at least as effective at:

  • Supporting healthy cholesterol levels
  • Supporting a healthy cardiovascular system

"This study tells us some important things," explains Joe A. Vinson, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry at The University of Scranton, the study's lead author. First, that purple grape juice offers significant cardio benefits in test animals. Second, it suggests that the role alcohol plays in maintaining cardiovascular function may not be as significant as previously thought.

Dr. Vinson's study in Atherosclerosis suggests that purple grape juice performs as well as red wine in many important measurements including healthy cholesterol levels, adds Dr. Folts. "Certainly Dr. Vinson's line of research needs to be repeated in human subjects, but one could easily envision a connection between what the mechanisms of action we identified in our study and the clinical outcomes that Dr. Vinson is seeing in his animal work."

Dr. Freedman's work was primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (National Heart. Lung and Blood Institute) and also by an unrestricted research grant from Welch Foods Inc. Dr. Vinson's research was supported by The University of Scranton.

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