Is There A Connection Between Red Wine And Gut Health?

People have used red wine in celebrations and ceremonies, weddings, and funerals for thousands of years. Usual Wines says the earliest findings of red wine production date back to 6100 B.C. at a cemetery site in the mountains of what is now Armenia. Archaeological evidence suggests ancient Egyptians used red wine as medicine, among other things, as early as 3100 B.C. The Greeks and Romans even created their own gods of wine, Dionysus and Bacchus, respectively. 

Today, red wine's heart-healthy benefits via resveratrol have been well-documented (per Mayo Clinic). And a 2018 review in Diseases found drinking a daily glass or two of red wine is positively associated with human health, disease prevention, and management. But is there a connection between red wine and gut health? According to Healthline, a recent study indicates that people who drink red wines have healthier gut bacteria levels than those who drink other kinds of alcohol.

Red wine is linked to more diversity in the gut microbiome

While red wine's rich antioxidant and polyphenol content has been researched extensively, few studies have examined its effects on the gut microbiota (abbreviated as G.M.). The 2019 study in Gastroenterology explored the effects of red wine against white wine, beer, hard cider, and spirits. Researchers used twins as subjects, since twins "allow control for host genetics, early-life environmental exposure, and socioeconomic status, which are important confounders of both red wine consumption and G.M. composition." Study results found that red wine consumption was associated with more G.M. diversity. And — according to Gut Microbiota For Health – more diversity in the gut microbiome is good. 

Although the study found that drinking more red wine was correlated with more G.M. diversity, even drinking red wine rarely was enough to add variety to the gut microbiome. Researchers caution that because the study has some limitations, a causal relationship between red wine and improved gut health could not be determined. However, they noted that gut microbial diversity increased only with red wine, not with other alcohols. Researchers believe this may be due to red wine's high polyphenol content. 

While this is all good news for red wine lovers, it doesn't come without risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that drinking any alcohol, including red wine, can increase your risk for breast, liver, and colon cancer, among others.