Benefits of Wine Polyphenols on Human Health: A Review

Roxana Banc, Carmen Socaciu, Doina Miere, Lorena Filip, Anamaria Cozma, Oana Stanciu, Felicia Loghin


This paper presents  an overview of the health benefits of wine polyphenols, induced by a moderate consumption. Several studies have shown that moderate wine intake may have many beneficial effects on human health and these effects are mainly attributed to the phenolic derivatives, especially flavonoids. Beside flavonoid compounds, phenolic acids (hydroxybenzoic acids and hydroxycinnamic acids) and stilbenes are important non-flavonoid compounds present in grapes and wine. In the present review, the biological role of these classes of polyphenols in wine is briefly introduced, together with the knowledge on their bioavailability. The health-protective properties of wines are mainly due to antioxidant activities and capability to eliminate free radicals of the phenolic compounds. Additionally, these compounds (e.g. catechin and their oligomers and proanthocyanidins, quercetin, resveratrol) have been reported to have multiple biological activities, including cardioprotective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Epidemiological and clinical studies have pointed out that regular and moderate red wine consumption (one to two glasses a day) is associated with decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, including lung, esophagus, stomach, colon, endometrium, ovarian and prostate cancer. The bioavailability of phenolic compounds differs largely among different polyphenol molecules, thus the most abundant polyphenols in wines are not necessarily those leading to the highest levels of active metabolites in target tissues. Therefore, since wine is a complex mixture, it is likely that a multitude of chemical constituents, as well as their metabolites, act synergistically on human health.


anthocyanins, flavonoids, moderate wine consumption, procyanidins, stilbenes

Full Text:



Andriambeloson E, Magnier C, Haan-Archipoff G, Lobstein A, Anton R, Beretz A, Stoclet JC, Andriantsitohaina R (1998). Natural dietary polyphenolic compounds cause endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in rat thoracic aorta. J Nutr 128(12):2324-2333.

Angelone T, Pasqua T, Di Majo D, Quintieri AM, Filice E, Amodio N, Tota B, Giammanco M, Cerra MC (2011). Distinct signalling mechanisms are involved in the dissimilar myocardial and coronary effects elicited by quercetin and myricetin, two red wine flavonols. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 21(5):362-371.

Aron PM, Kennedy JA (2008). Flavan-3-ols: nature, occurrence and biological activity. Mol Nutr Food Res 52(1):79-104.

Auger C, Al-Awwadi N, Bornet A, Rouanet JM, Gasc F, Cros G, Teissedre PL (2004). Catechins and procyanidins in Mediterranean diets. Food Res Int 37(3):233-245.

Avellone G, Di Garbo V, Campisi D, De Simone R, Raneli G, Scaglione R, Licata G (2006). Effects of moderate Sicilian red wine consumption on inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis. Eur J ClinNutr 60:41-47.

Boivin D, Blanchette M, Barrette S, Moghrabi A, Béliveau R (2007). Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and suppression of TNF-induced activation of NFkappaB by edible berry juice. Anticancer Res 27(2):937-948.

Boots AW, Haenen GR, Bast A (2008). Health effects of quercetin: from antioxidant to nutraceutical. Eur J Pharmacol 585:325-337.

Braicu C, Ladomery MR, Chedea VS, Irimie A, Berindan-Neagoe I (2013). The relationship between the structure and biological actions of green tea catechins. Food Chem 141:3282-3289.

Briggs NC, LevineRS, BoboLD, HaliburtonWP, Brann EA, Henneken CH (2002). Wine drinking and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among men in the United States: a population-based case-control study. Am J Epidemiol 156(5):454-462.

Brusselmans K, Vrolix R, Verhoeven G, Swinnen JV (2005). Induction of cancer cell apoptosis by flavonoids is associated with their ability to inhibit fatty acid synthase activity. J BiolChem 280(7):5636-5645.

Cordova AC, Sumpio BE (2009). Polyphenols are medicine: Is it time to prescribe red wine for our patients?.Int J Angiol 18(3):111-117.

Déprez S, Brezillon C, Rabot S, Philippe C, Mila I, Lapierre C, Scalbert A (2000). Polymeric proanthocyanidins are catabolized by human colonic microflora into low-molecular weight phenolic acids. J Nutr 130(11):2733-2738.

Déprez S, Mila I, Huneau JF, Tome D, Scalbert A (2001). Transport of proanthocyanidin dimer, trimer, and polymer across monolayers of human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells. Antioxid Redox Signal 3(6):957-967.

Felgines C, Talavéra S, Gonthier MP, Texier O, Scalbert A, Lamaison JL, Rémésy C (2003). Strawberry anthocyanins are recovered in urine as glucuro- and sulfoconjugates in humans. J Nutr 133(5):1296-1301.

Fernández-Mar MI, Mateos R, García-Parrilla MC, Puertas B, Cantos-Villar E (2012). Bioactive compounds in wine: Resveratrol, hydroxytyrosol and melatonin: A review. Food Chem 130:797-813.

Forester SC, Waterhouse AL (2009). Metabolites are key to understanding health effects of wine polyphenolics. J Nutr 139(9):1824S-1831S.

Gammon MD, Schoenberg JB, Ahsan H, Risch HA, Vaughan TL, Chow WH, Rotterdam H, West AB, Dubrow R, Stanford JL, Mayne ST, Farrow DC, Niwa S, Blot WJ, Fraumeni JF Jr (1997). Tobacco, alcohol, and socioeconomic status and adenocarcinomas of the esophagus and gastric cardia. J Natl Cancer Inst 89(17):1277-1284.

Garrido J, Borges F (2013). Wine and grape polyphenols — A chemical perspective. Food Res Int 54:1844-1858.

Gee JM, DuPont MS, Day AJ, Plumb GW, Williamson G, Johnson IT (2000). Intestinal transport of quercetin glycosides in rats involves both deglycosylation and interaction with the hexose transport pathway. J Nutr 130:2765-2771.

Georgiev V, Ananga A, Tsolova V (2014). Recent advances and uses of grape flavonoids as nutraceuticals. Nutrients 6:391-415.

Gruz J, Novak O, Strnad M (2008). Rapid analysis of phenolic acids in beverages by UPLC–MS/MS. Food Chem 111:789-794.

Guerrero RF, García-Parrilla MC, Puertas B, Cantos-Villar E (2009). Wine, resveratrol and health: a review. Nat Prod Commun 4(5):635-658.

Guilford JM, Pezzuto JM (2011).Wine and health: a review.Am J EnolVitic 62(4):471-486.

Harikumar KB, Aggarwal BB (2008). Resveratrol: A multitargeted agent for age–associated chronic diseases. Cell Cycle 7(8):1020-1035.

Hayek T, Fuhrman B, Vaya J, Rosenblat M, Belinky P, Coleman R, Elis A, Aviram M (1997). Reduced progression of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice following consumption of red wine, or its polyphenols quercetin or catechin, is associated with reduced susceptibility of LDL to oxidation and aggregation. ArteriosclerThrombVascBiol 17(11):2744-2752.

Heim KE, Tagliaferro AR, Bobilya DJ (2002). Flavonoid antioxidants: chemistry, activity and structure-activity relationships. J NutrBiochem 13:572-584.

Hung LM, Chen JK, Lee RS, Liang HC, Su MJ (2001). Beneficial effects of astringinin, a resveratrol analogue, on the ischemia and reperfusion damage in rat heat. Free Radic Biol Med 30(8):877-883.

Iriti M, Faoro F (2011). Benefits of grape chemicals on human health, p. 276-313. In: Farooqui AA, Farooqui T (Eds.). Phytochemicals and Human Health. Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Jang M, Cai L, Udeani GO, Slowing KV, Thomas CF, Beecher CWW, Fong HH, Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Mehta RG, Moon RC, Pezzuto JM (1997). Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol, a natural product derived from grapes. Science 275(5297):218-220.

Jeffery DW, Parker M, Smith PA (2008). Flavonol composition of Australian red and white wines determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Aust J Grape Wine Res 14(3):153-161.

Kay CD, Mazza G, Holub BJ, Wang J (2004). Anthocyanin metabolites in human urine and serum. Br J Nutr 91(6):933-942.

Kim YJ. Antimelanogenic and antioxidant properties of gallic acid (2007). Biol Pharm Bull 30(6):1052-1055.

Kong JM, Chia LS, Goh NK, Chia TF, Brouillard R (2003). Analysis and biological activities of anthocyanins. Phytochemistry 64(5):923-933.

Kumar S, Pandey AK (2013).Chemistry and biological activities of flavonoids: an overview. Sci World J 2013:162750.

Kuo PL, Hsu YL (2008). The grape and wine constituent piceatannol inhibits proliferation of human bladder cancer cells via blocking cell cycle progression and inducing Fas/membrane bound Fas ligand-mediated apoptotic pathway.MolNutr Food Res 52(4):408-418.

Leighton F, Cuevas A, Guasch V, Pérez DD, Strobel P, San Martín A, Urzua U, Díez MS, Foncea R, Castillo O, Mizón C, Espinoza MA, Urquiaga I, Rozowski J, Maiz A, Germain A (1999).Plasma polyphenols and antioxidants, oxidative DNA damage and endothelial function in a diet and wine intervention study in humans.Drugs ExpClin Res 25(2-3):133-141.

Lowry JB, McSweeney CS, Palmer B (1996). Changing perceptions of the effect of plant phenolics on nutrient supply in the ruminant. Aust J Agric Res 47:829-842.

LuY, Jiang F, Jiang H, Wu K, Zheng X, Cai Y, Katakowski M, Chopp M, To SS (2010). Gallic acid suppresses cell viability, proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis in human glioma cells. Eur J Pharmacol 641:102-107.

Manach C, Regerat F, Texier O, Agullo G, Demigne C, Rémésy C (1996). Bioavailability, metabolism and physiological impact of 4-oxo-flavonoids. Nutr Res 16:517-544.

Manach C, Williamson G, Morand C. Scalbert A, Rémésy C (2005). Bioavailability and bioefficacy of polyphenols in humans. I. Review of 97 bioavailability studies. Am J ClinNutr 81(1 Suppl), 230S-242S.

Mateus N, Machado JM, de Freitas V (2002). Development changes of anthocyanins in Vitisvinifera grapes grown in the Douro Valley and concentration in respective wines. J Sci Food Agric 82:1689-95.

Mudnic I, Modun D, Rastija V, Vukovic J, Brizic I, Katalinic V, Kozina B, Medic-Saric M, Boban M (2010). Antioxidative and vasodilatory effects of phenolic acids in wine. Food Chem 119:1205-1210.

Murias M, Jäger W, Handler N, Erker T, Horvath Z, Szekeres T, Nohl H, Gille L. (2005). Antioxidant, prooxidant and cytotoxic activity of hydroxylated resveratrol analogues: structure-activity relationship. BiochemPharmacol 69(6):903-912.

Nagle DG, Ferreira D, Zhou YD (2006). Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): Chemical and biomedical perspectives. Phytochemistry 67(17):1849-1855.

Ottaviani JI, Actis-Goretta L, Villordo JJ, Fraga CG (2006). Procyanidin structure defines the extent and specificity of angiotensin I converting enzyme inhibition. Biochimie 88:359-365.

Paixão N, Perestrelo R, Marques JC, Câmara JS (2007). Relationship between antioxidant capacity and total phenolic content of red, rosé and white wines. Food Chem105:204-214.

Parker JA, Arango M, Abderrahmane S, Lambert E, Tourette C, Catoire H, Néri C (2005). Resveratrol rescues mutant polyglutamine cytotoxicity in nematode and mammalian neurons. Nat Genet 37(4):349-350.

Perez-Vizcaino F, Duarte J (2010). Flavonols and cardiovascular disease. Mol Aspects Med 31:478-494.

Platz EA, Leitzmann MF, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Giovannucci E (2004). Alcohol intake, drinking patterns, and risk of prostate cancer in a large prospective cohort study.Am J Epidemiol 159(5):444-453.

Prasad R, Katiyar SK (2013). Grape seed proanthocyanidins inhibit migration potential of pancreatic cancer cells by promoting mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition and targeting NF-kB. Cancer Lett 334:118-126.

Reddy MK, Alexander-Lindo RL, Nair MG (2005). Relative inhibition of lipid peroxidation, cyclooxygenase enzymes, and human tumor cell proliferation by natural food colors. J Agric Food Chem 53(23):9268-9273.

Renaud S,Lorgeril M (1992). Wine, alcohol, platelets, and the French paradox for coronary heart disease. Lancet 339:1523-1526.

Rice-Evans C (2001). Flavonoid antioxidants. Curr Med Chem 8(7):797-807.

Rice-Evans CA, Miller NJ, Bolwell PG, Bramley PM, Pridham JB (1995). The relative antioxidant activities of plant-derived polyphenolic flavonoids. Free Radical Res 22(4):375-383.

Rivière C, Richard T, Quentin L, Krisa S, Mérillon JM, Monti JP (2007). Inhibitory activity of stilbenes on Alzheimer's beta-amyloid fibrils in vitro.Bioorg Med Chem 15(2):1160-1167.

Robinson J (Ed.) (2006). The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Ed. Oxford University Press, New York, 840 p.

Russo M, Spagnuolo C, Tedesco I, Bilotto S, Russo GL (2012). The flavonoid quercetin in disease prevention and therapy: Facts and fancies. BiochemPharmacol 83(1):6-15.

Scholz S, Williamson G (2007).Interactions affecting the bioavailability of dietary polyphenols in vivo.Int J VitamNutr Res 77(3):224-235.

Ursini F, Sevanian A (2002). Wine polyphenols and optimal nutrition. Ann N Y AcadSci 957:200-209.

Vennat B, Bos MA, Pourrat A, Bastide P (1994). Procyanidins from tormentil: fractionation and study of the anti-radical activity towards superoxide anion. Biol Pharm Bull 17(12):1613-1615.

Walle T (2004). Absorption and metabolism of flavonoids. Free RadicBiol Med 36:829-837.

Wang LS, Stoner GD (2008). Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention. Cancer Lett 269(2):281-290.

Weisel T, Baum M, Eisenbrand G, Dietrich H, Will F, Stockis JP, Kulling S, Rüfer C, Johannes C, Janzowski C (2006). An anthocyanin/polyphenolic-rich fruit juice reduces oxidative DNA damage and increases glutathione level in healthy probands. Biotechnol J 1(4):388-397.

Williamson G, Manach C (2005). Bioavailability and bioefficacy of polyphenols in humans. II. Review of 93 intervention studies. Am J ClinNutr 81(1 S), 243S-255S.

Zaveri NT (2006). Green tea and its polyphenoliccatechins: Medicinal uses in cancer and noncancer applications. Life Sci 78(18):2073-2080.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
3-5 Manastur St., 400372 Cluj-Napoca
Tel: +40-264-596.384 | Fax: +40-264-593.792