Wine bacteria may boost health

Red wine has bacteria that may be beneficial to human health, according to a new study.

New York: Red wine has bacteria that may be beneficial to human health, according to a new study.

Researchers in Spain isolated 11 strains of bacteria from wine, including strains of Lactobacillus, which are also found in yogurt, as well as Oenococcus and Pediococcus bacteria, which are associated with the wine-making process.

"Up to now, many studies have reported that the best [foods] to deliver probiotics are dairy fermented products, so that the probiotic properties of wine-related [Lactobacillus] were hardly studied," said study author Dolores Gonzalez de Llano of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain.

Probiotics are live organisms that can bring health benefits when consumed in the right amounts, Gonzalez de Llano said.

Consuming probiotics may be beneficial primarily for maintaining a healthy community of gut bacteria and bowel function, she said, adding that probiotics have also been reported to possibly have anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering properties.

In the study, the researchers examined the ability of the bacteria they isolated from wine to survive in conditions similar to those found in the human gastrointestinal system.

The researchers looked to see whether the bacteria in wine could survive when exposed to simulated gastric juice, bile and lysozyme, an enzyme that is highly concentrated in human saliva that can damage bacterial cell walls.

They found that the bacteria could survive in such conditions, and their survival was comparable to or even better than the survival of several strains of bacteria known to be beneficial to human health, 'LiveScience' reported.

The researchers also looked at how well the bacteria in wine might stick to the walls of the human intestine by growing human intestine cells in a lab dish.

They found the bacteria did stick, and therefore, the bacteria "may provide beneficial effects, such as the exclusion of pathogens," or harmful bacteria, from the intestine, they said.

The new findings do not mean, however, that drinking a couple glasses of wine a day will provide the same health benefits as eating a food like yogurt, Gonzalez de Llano said.

Even though the moderate consumption of wine may confer certain health benefits, wine does not currently provide a sufficient amount of probiotics to be beneficial, because many of the bacteria are eliminated during a process called sulfating, which stabilises wine, she said.  

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