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The effect of whisky and wine consumption on total phenol content and antioxidant capacity of plasma from healthy volunteers


Objective: To assess whether consumption of 100 ml of whisky or red wine by healthy male subjects increased plasma total phenol content and antioxidant capacity.

Design: A Latin square arrangement to eliminate ordering effects whereby, after an overnight fast, nine volunteers consumed 100 ml of red wine, malt whisky or unmatured ‘new make’ spirit. Each volunteer participated on three occasions one week apart, consuming one of the beverages each time. Blood samples were obtained from the anticubital vein at intervals up to 4h after consumption of the beverages when a urine sample was also obtained.

Results: Within 30 min of consumption of the wine and whisky, there was a similar and significant increase in plasma total phenol content and antioxidant capacity as determined by the ferric reducing capacity of plasma (FRAP). No changes were observed following consumption of ‘new make’ spirit.

Conclusions: Consumption of phenolic-containing alcoholic beverages transiently raises total phenol concentration and enhances the antioxidant capacity of plasma. This is compatible with suggestions that moderate alcohol usage and increased antioxidant intake decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.

Sponsorship: Funded by the Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department (SOAEFD), the ERASMUS exchange program, the EC-Fair program and the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

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Duthie, G., Pedersen, M., Gardner, P. et al. The effect of whisky and wine consumption on total phenol content and antioxidant capacity of plasma from healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 52, 733–736 (1998).

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  • phenolics
  • wine
  • whisky
  • plasma antioxidant capacity

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