Red wine consumed moderately may help protect the liver against disease, recent research suggests.
The liver is the second largest organ in the body and is essential in keeping the body functioning properly; it processes the body's nutrients, manufactures bile to help digest fats, synthesizes many important proteins, regulates blood clotting and breaks down potentially toxic substances into harmless ones that the body can use or excrete.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, explained that people at risk for coronary heart disease are often at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The association of modest wine consumption with NAFLD has not been studied, and the recommendation of wine for patients at risk for both diseases is controversial.
The study examined the effect of modest wine consumption on the prevalence of NAFLD using participants from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who either reported no alcohol consumption or preferentially drinking wine with total alcohol consumption up to 10 grams per day.
A total of 7,211 nondrinkers and 945 modest wine drinkers comprised the study sample. Based on the reference laboratory cut point, suspected NAFLD was observed in 3.2 percent of nondrinkers and 0.4 percent of modest wine drinkers. Using the healthy subject cut point, suspected NAFLD was observed in 14.3 percent of nondrinkers and 8.6 percent of wine drinkers.
The authors concluded that modest wine consumption is associated with reduced prevalence of suspected NAFLD. The current study supports the safety of one glass of wine per day for cardioprotection in patients at risk for both coronary heart disease and NAFLD.