The metabolic syndrome (MetS) encompasses a constellation of cardio-metabolic abnormalities associated with a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the top killer in the ageing population. Recent studies have demonstrated multiple beneficial effects of moderate wine consumption in the protection against development of the MetS and its related medical complications. The association of moderate wine consumption with lower incidence of the MetS and atherosclerotic heart disease has been repeatedly documented in numerous epidemiological studies on diverse ethnic groups. In addition to the favorable effects of moderate ethanol intake on lipid profiles, polyphenols enriched in red wine possess multiple benefits on the MetS beyond alcohol through their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, vascular-protective and insulin-sensitizing properties. Notable among these red wine polypheolic compounds is resveratrol, a phytoalexin that has recently attracted great attention due to its role in mimicking calorie restriction. This compound can act as a potent activator of the NAD+-dependent deacetylases sirtuins to expand the life span and to prevent the deleterious effects of excess intake on insulin resistance and metabolic derangement. In addition, resveratrol exerts its multiple protective effects against the MetS through stimulating AMP-activated protein kinase and promoting mitochondria biogenesis. In this review, we highlight the recent epidemiological and experimental evidences supporting the protective effects of moderate wine intake against the MetS and its associated cardio-metabolic complications, and discuss the molecular mechanisms underlying the multiple beneficial actions of red wine polyphenols with the focus on resveratrol.
Keywords: Ethanol, polyphenols, HDL-cholesterol, nitric oxide bioavailability, Calorie Restriction, Anti-Oxidant
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