UK heart doctor calls on wineries to back research

UK heart doctor calls on wineries to back research News Wine News
  • Tuesday 8 July 2003

A leading UK cardiologist is calling for a national study on the effects of red wine on the heart – and he's looking to wine producers for backing.

Dr William McCrea of the Great Western Hospital in Swindon has prescribed two glasses of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon a day to 400 cardiac patients for the last two years.

And although he recognises the study is not scientific, patients who take the prescription 'do far better' than those that don't. According to hospital statistics, taking two glasses of red wine a day reduces the risk of a second heart attack by 50%.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, Pinot Noir and Syrah are all rich in flavenoids – antioxidants which keep arteries clear, thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. According to a Glasgow Univiersity study, Chilean Cabernet is especially well-endowed with flavenoids, and McCrea's prescriptions specify Montes Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2001.

Other studies, extensively reported on and in the medical press, reinforce the theory that red wine is very good for the heart. In particular, the Journal of the American Heart Association published findings last year which showed men aged 40-60 halved the risk of a second heart attack by drinking red wine.

'There now needs to be a properly coordinated UK study,' Dr McCrea told 'Moderate intake of alcohol seems to prevent coronary heart disease, and although too much alcohol can contribute to heart disease, there is always an absence of red wine in the diet of drinkers who get it.'

McCrea is actively looking for backing for nationwide research. The British Heart Foundation is the first choice but he would be very interested in hearing from any wineries which might contribute funds. 'We now have the impetus to go ahead on a study,' he said,

He added that the news coverage of his unorthodox prescriptions had generated a flood of calls.

'People who have never drunk wine in their lives are ringing me up and saying, “Where can I get hold of this wine, and what does it cost?”'

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