LONDON, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Moderate red wine drinkers has a more diverse gut microbiome compared to non-red wine drinkers and the drinking habit is also linked to lower levels of obesity and "bad" cholesterol, according to a study released on Wednesday by King's College London.
A team of researchers from the college analyzed the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits on the gut microbiome (GM) and subsequent health in a group of 916 UK female twins. The result was also observed in three different cohorts in the UK, the U.S. and the Netherlands.
"This study shows that moderate red wine consumption is associated with greater diversity and a healthier gut microbiota that partly explain its long debated beneficial effects on health," said Dr. Caroline Le Roy, the first author of the study.
The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms in an environment and plays an important role in human health. A person's gut microbiome with a higher number of different bacterial species is considered a marker of gut health.
The team believes that the main reason for the association is due to the many polyphenols in red wine. Polyphenols are defence chemicals naturally present in many fruits and vegetables. They have many beneficial properties and mainly act as a fuel for the microbes present in our system.
The study also found that red wine consumption was associated with lower levels of obesity and "bad" cholesterol which was in part due to the GM.
Dr. Le Roy said: "Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and the GM diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect."
The study has been published in the journal Gastroenterology.