Drinking wine in moderation may help lower risk of developing depression, according to research by Spanish researchers. The research suggests moderate amounts of alcohol consumed may have similar protective effects on depression to those who have been observed for coronary heart disease.
On the other hand, previous studies have also shown that heavy alcohol intake is related to mental health problems, such as depression. The study by researchers headed by Professor Miguel A. Martinez-Gonzalez from the University of Navarra (Spain) on over 5,500 light-to-moderate drinkers for up to seven years show an inverse relationship between alcohol intake and incidents of depression. The finding was reported in BMC Medicine.
The study participants, aged between 55 and 80 years old, had never suffered from depression or had alcohol-related problems. Their alcohol consumption, mental health and lifestyles were followed for up to seven years through yearly visits, repeated medical exams, interviews with dieticians and questionnaires.
The main alcoholic beverage drunk by the study participants was wine. When analysed, it was shown that those who drank moderate amounts of wine each week were less likely to suffer from depression. The lowest rates of depression were seen in the group of individuals who drank two to seven small glasses of wine per week. These results remained significant even when the group adjusted them for lifestyle and social factors, such as smoking, diet and marital status.
?Lower amounts of alcohol intake might exert protection in a similar way to what has been observed for coronary heart disease. In fact, it is believed that depression and coronary heart disease share some common disease mechanisms,? said Professor Miguel.
Previous studies have indicated that non-alcoholic compounds in the wine, such as resveratrol and other phenolic compounds may have protective effects on certain areas of the brain.
But there is little agreement about the cause of the beneficial effects of wine consumption.
Uruguayan chemists discovered the secret of home-grown red-wine that they sequenced the genome of the Tannat grape, from which it is made. This was corroborated by studies made by Roger Corder, professor of experimental therapeutics at Queen Mary University of London, which confirmed that Tannat wines contain three to four times more procyanidins than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Preliminary research suggests resveratrol contains an anti-ageing compound, which could extend life, combat obesity and cure cancer.