Category: Nutrition

Fill Your Glass With This to Improve Gut Microbiota

There is certainly been a lot of discussion in the scientific community I related to the positive aspects of drinking red wine. Red wine, in addition to its healthy content of polyphenols – natural antioxidants, also contains small amounts of resveratrol, that does offer up a level of antioxidant function as well as reduction of inflammation.

To add to the story, new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tells yet another story about red wine. In this new report, researchers evaluated the effect of red wine consumption versus control in 10 middle-aged male volunteers, and measured two important parameters. First, they looked at LPS. LPS is a gut related bacterial marker of inflammation. Basically higher levels of LPS correlate with higher levels of inflammation. And, as we all know, inflammation is the cornerstone of such dreaded issues as Alzheimer’s disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

The second thing the researchers did was to look at the various bacteria in the gut, the microbiota. It is certainly clear nowadays that there is a strong correlation between the complexion and variety of the gut bacteria, and health as well as disease, especially as it relates to inflammatory disorders.

What the researchers found was really quite interesting. Chronic red wine consumption was found to significantly increased levels of a specific type of bacteria called bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria is known to reduce gut wall permeability and as such, ultimately leads to lower levels of inflammation as measured by lower LPS concentration. And keep in mind that higher levels of LPS are in fact correlated with such issues as major depressive disorder, autism, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

The take-home message here is that in addition to the fairly well understood mechanisms explaining the health benefits of red wine consumption, we now have to add to the list the effects of red wine consumption on changing gut bacteria in a favorable way, increasing bifidobacteria, and leading to reduction of gut permeability or “leaky bowel.”

To be sure, this information doesn’t mean that if some is good more is better. My recommendations on red wine consumption are up to one glass a day for women and one to two glasses each day for men.

FYI: If you’re looking for a great source of organic, all natural wine, then Dry Farm Wines is a great option.

  • Ri

    I will be buying a bottle of red wine tonight! Great news thank you Dr Perlmutter-cheers!:)

    • David Perlmutter

      Do enjoy a glass!

  • Carl from Pahrump

    followed up on this study and did some other Internet searches. It seems that drinking non-alcoholic Wine has
    been shown to be better for you: re http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/09/study-red-wine-is-healthier-when-its-non-alcoholic-sorry/262128/

    • Ruth

      This might sound so very ignorant, but how do they remove the alcohol from the wine?

  • Sandy

    Wow, Dr. Perlmutter — no concern about alcoholism that plagues so many families and kills so many people??? Might grape juice, grapes and/or raisins be just as good? Or just eating a 100% healthy diet sans alcohol?

    • pojoel

      Grapes and grape juice are extremely sweet, as are raisins. Sugar is bad, very bad for us!

      • Jerdon

        YEAH ,yeah – too much of ANYTHING is bad, very bad for you, like sugar , salt , carbs, fats, and even of course alcohol. So, just live by the old mantra from the past “Everything in Moderation ” . AMEN

        • pojoel

          Everything except sugar, starch and processed “foodlike substances”

      • Arorsa

        Fine, no grapes then. But it seems to me that carbs are healthier than alcoholism, if one had to pick.

  • Boundless

    > … this information does it mean …

    Did you mean to say “doesn’t mean”?

    • David Perlmutter

      Sure does. Thanks for the catch.

      • zak

        Is there a difference between a 10 dollar bottle and a 50 dollar one? from the health perspective ?

  • Barbie

    Just read an article posted on Green Med Info, stating “your lovely glass of wine is probably infused with hormone-disrupting phthalates.” What are your thoughts on this?

    • gh

      I find that cask wine has an effect on me that indicates estrogenic activity. Bottled wine does not have that effect. Though some wine is fermented in plastic tanks or plastic bladders, instead of stainless tanks.

  • Angela

    Cool! I can get nearly half a bottle of wine in 1 glass! Cheers!

  • Dave

    What about the health problems associated with the sulfites in red wine?? does the benefit outweigh the negative aspect of this ingredient?

    • Cecilia Barbosa Brou

      Yes I have the same problem I can do better with blush or pink
      Wine from Niagara on the lake ! There are great maybe because it’s
      In harmony with the air water soil I leave .. This concept of local ecology
      are quite valid I think . Try to get a local wine and organic one Salud !!

    • gh

      I find wine to be very harmful to my microbiome. I’ve assumed it is the preservative, as other alcohol is not as harmful. Fungus in the body loves wine also. It used to cause ringworm outbreaks for me. A lot of women have found it worsens thrush.

    • Ruth

      Dave, I thought that sulfites were present in similar amount in fruits/vegetables. Is this not the case? (Perhaps I’m thinking of nitrites/nitrates.)

  • .. I assume you forgot to say that it should be natural wine, organically produced and processed without any additives. Most wine from the supermarket is highly toxic.

    • Ruth

      I feel like it’s quite irresponsible of the author not to differentiate between supermarket wines and “specialty” wines (of the kind the long-living greek islanders in his most recent book would frequently partake).

  • Danna Seevers

    OMG, you guys are driving me crazy!! I wish I could listen to a conversation between you and Dr. Sarah Gottfried, MD on this topic. Of course I want YOU to be right! LOL Maybe I should start a podcast!

    • Ruth

      That would be amazing.

  • Donna

    I was just told by my functional med. doc to only drink white wine now and then because I do have a leaky gut and am prone to Candida overgrowth. Now, this sounds like a great excuse to switch to red wine! I’m in!

  • Jean

    Dr. Perlmutter,

    Is zero alcohol wine as effective? I do not drink alcohol at all.


  • geezer

    I always see the rule for wine drinkers: one glass for women, two for men. Shouldn’t it refer to weight instead. I’m a male weighing 125 pounds; should I be having twice as much wine than a 250 lb woman?

    • Ruth

      No, in fact, due to the metabolic differences between men and women – a quick Google will give you the details. 🙂

  • Robyn

    Interesting. I unless you react to sulphur dioxide which (sadly) puts you back to square one!

  • Penny

    Dr. Perlmutter, I’m all in
    on the science of LCHF diets. I have MS, and feel so much better since I
    relinquished some of my too restrictive vegan habits. 🙂 However, I think I
    speak for a lot of folks when I suggest that physicians who want to promote their
    point of view on-line (and expand their wallets) by selling a philosophy to a
    captive audience need to answer at least some of the questions that won’t
    necessarily advance their preferred narrative. I feel so badly for people
    trying hard to connect the dots and relate new information to their own journey
    to health or weight loss, whose questions/concerns are just ignored. (I caused
    quite a stir on nutritionfacts.org complaining about Dr. Greger soliciting
    “questions and comments” for his blog [trying to build readership]
    and then not answering the people kind enough to show up.) If you don’t know
    the answer, just say so. If you are too busy to do it yourself, hire someone to
    do the research (to submit for your review/approval) and do the
    response. Bottom line: People out here in the blogosphere don’t like stumbling
    over sincere questions that are ignored. It really doesn’t do anything for your
    credibility and, frankly, serves to throw too much light back on your only real
    interest in your readership – your wallet. So, please consider answering them
    too, at least occasionally. It can only please your readers and enhance
    your reputation. Okay…Now that I’m pret-ty sure I’ve got your attention :),
    is there anything wrong with a breakfast of 2 bacon strips, 2 scrambled eggs
    (with occasional add-ins, like spinach, goat cheese) and 1/2 grapefruit? It’s
    my favorite breakfast, but the bacon concerns me. I never see “bacon”
    mentioned as a part of any high fat diet. What do you think?

    • Penny

      Oh, and btw, I don’t particularly like alcohol, but the occasional glass of wine is beginning to sounds like a health-food, so I’m opening the bottle I’ve had for 2 years tomorrow!

    • Crystal M.

      Wow, he blatantly ignores you and others who question him and responds to the few left. Not a good sign!

    • David Perlmutter

      Penny: Eggs are, of course, a great choice. Bacon I tend to shy away from. Grapefruit has a moderate amount of sugar, so half makes a smart portion size. Though, when it comes to fruit, I would default to berries.

      As always, I do my best to respond to as many of these comments as I can.

      • ri

        you are right and all pork products are gross and disgusting even DR AXE agrees im not muslim but I wont touch it

      • Therese Ranzau Garner

        the problem with bacon is the preservatives, usually nitrates… also porc is not a good choice of meats for a healthy body.

    • Kenet

      If you’re suffering from MS read Terry Wahls “The Wahls Protocol”. She is an MD who came down with MS and eventually recovered by developing a diet – no drugs – just eating her way to health.

      • Penny

        Hi, Kenet! I am familiar with Dr. Wahls phenomenal work. She has a “thing” for organ meats, however, and, alas, I never could stand eating them. I’m now back to strict vegetarianism .,,which does have it’s own health benefits, including MS. Thanks for thinking of me…

        • David Perlmutter

          Dr. Wahls is doing some top-notch work. I am proud to consider her a colleague.

  • Debbie Belcore

    In addition to the excellent points made by other commenters, consider: histamine reaction (inflammatory). I have read that any alcohol content KILLS bacteria (why alcohol is used as a preservative). And that there is something unique about the chemical structure that helps escort pesticides into (especially) breast tissue. Should a study of 10 people s merit this much attention? Doesn’t the liver stop all fat burning (not good if you have made the transition to a fat burning metabolism) to deal with the alcohol, because it registers in the liver as a toxin and in first step metabolism converts to the carcinogenic acetylaldehyde?. I was reading the report of the ‘North Pond Hermit.’ He said it was essential to fatten up in the fall to make it through the brutal winters, and that sugar and alcohol were the most effective way to do this. For the great majority of the people I know (myself included), one glass leads to another and leads to willpower dis-inhibition and snacking that would not have occurred. Whatever the health benefits may or may not be, they don’t seem worth it to me. These studies remind me of all the nutritional claims made by the food industry to sell junk food.

  • michael H

    4 months keto-adapted. 20 grams carbs and adequate protein each day. 45 grams fat from Coconut Oil and DHA (400 calories). Never hungry. Lot of body fat to lose. What’s the recommended minimum additional fat I should consume,
    until reaching desired weight?

    • plung

      Forget the calorie counting, Try to get 60-80% fat every day. If that bothers you, do some research to convince yourself about the fat %. No calorie counting required since you will quit eating long before over eating due to being fully satisfied. Just eat till not hungry.Nature’s diet. You do not need any carbs. Liver or cells will provide any carbs required.

      What do you call adequate protein? Too much will cause gluconeogenesis, or conversion to glucose. Not good.

      20 grams carbs is excellent if not fooling yourself as we tend to do.

  • Rita Griggs

    New to wine, I didn’t like the taste, but tried “Red Mascato” which based good, but caused elevated blood sugar. Any suggestions for a good tasting red wine that won’t elevate blood sugar?

  • Margot

    Any particular grape or blend that’s best? Why not enjoy maximum benefit along with the pleasure of a glass of wine!?!

  • Bob W

    Ah, but what about the sugar content of wine. If my hemoglobin A1C is already high, would wine be such a good idea for me?

  • Denise Otis

    Dr. Perlmutter, I respect you highly and support the grain brain approach with much enthusiasm. However, I draw the line on this one. When it comes to the gut, I look for those experienced with it. It seems that big business, in this case the alcohol business, influences medical studies. Please consider investigating more closely this information from Body Ecology (in quotes) and maybe even learning from Donna Gates about this:

    “Studies even show that good bacteria benefit from polyphenols in the diet. (10)(11)

    However, wine also contains alcohol—a toxin that destroys brain tissue, inflames the gut, burdens the liver, and has even proven itself addictive.”


  • Denise Otis

    Dr. Perlmutter, I enthusiastically support your grain brain approach, but draw the line on this one. When it comes to the gut, the experts need to be heard. Body Ecology has an article about the dark side of red wine stating that wine contains alcohol which is a toxin that destroys brain tissue and inflames the gut making it leaky. This goes against your grain brain approach. Please consider learning from Donna Gates and Body Ecology, not research studies funded by big business. You have a wonderful protocol with grain brain; please don’t diminish it with this. BTW, this is the second time I’ve posted this today, the first post containing the link was deleted. I posted it again thinking that the link was causing the problem. If this gets deleted, I would like to know the reason.

    • David Perlmutter

      Denise: Neither of your comments have been deleted. Sometimes you just have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Load More” to see additional comments! I see both of yours here.

      • Denise Otis

        Thank you.

  • Flavia

    I am a little socked to see that you think it is okay to drink wine. It is pure sugar in the body. I thought the idea was not to feed your brain with sugar.

  • a s

    greetings from Portugal to all of you!

    i am most happy to see that it is ok to get that one a day red glass of wine…ufff.

    additionally i would like to ask you how do you do that specific math from the intakes
    i get from my daily meals, e.g., mostly the fat %; i am pretty sure i get my carbs only from the vegetables and from fruits ( less than one piece of fruit per week so max 4 pieces of fruit last month)
    i lost weight, i feel better but is ketosis happening without seeing it in my blood tests?

    i had what you might call the basic mediterranean diet but from one month already LCHF diet is ruling for my diet; i am gluten free and sugar free for 2 months already and i went cold torquey on it…only if i knew them. i started this for weight problems but from the perspective of adding weight and not lose it since i am 65 kg. for 1,84 cm. tall;and as well to prevent some kind of problems that my low fat high carbs intake could lead me to since i have colon cancer history in my family from both parents ;
    i could not stand more than 2 to 3 hours without eating…always craving…and that affected, messed, very much my life routines because the bad humour was pretty much there all the time.

    i use loads of premium extra virgem olive oil, butter, nuts, almonds, meat from animals who pasture in the wild and mostly fresh fish ( this is the blessing from living up north in portugal because you can get this high quality food for so little money!)
    i introduced eggs again in my diet, pork meat, and lots of other free pasture animals that i used ti+o think they were bad for my diet.
    so i suspect i am antibiotics free in my feeding chain,,,but can not be 100% sure, can i ?

    long story short how do i do the math to check my intake % from fat; do i count the measures of olive oil, the grams of butter, the lard i cook prior the cooking or is it a different method; one 200 gr. steak cooked on a 2 spoons of olive oil
    with 200 gr. of broccoli and 2 spoons of butter for example how does the math goes, please?

    if you could give me an example about the specific math that would be great…since my brain seems to be working a lot better, cause i feel much more curiousity again about knowledge in general,

    thank you for your time,

    feel great all of You.

  • mare

    is there anything non alcoholic that will do the same

    • Ruth

      I’d be interested in the answer to this, too.

  • Lori Otten Miraglia

    Do you/anyone have a good recommendation for a good organic red wine? I tend to like Pinot Noir.

  • Carolyn

    Got some big glasses out there. Better be more precise with your recommendations.

  • Kelly Gilroy

    Dr. Permutter. I have just finished your book Brain Maker and thought it was fantastic.I loved the detail that many books on the subject do not offer. I have also read Dr. Chutkan’s book the Microbiome Solution and she states the exact opposite on page 56 stating that a glass or two of red wine may be good for your heart but not for your microbiome…then she goes on to explain. This has left me very confused. My question is. Is this difference of opinion due to the studies on the Brain and red wine and does that differ from the studies on the digestive system and red wine, or do you feel Dr. Chutkan is wrong in this area. I would greatly appreciate a response.

    • Ruth

      Kelly, that’s such a great question! I too would appreciate a response on this.

    • Therese Ranzau Garner

      good question… my pinot noir is aging gracefully while I wait for the answer to this

  • Deeno Adkins

    Red wine alternative?
    I do not consume alcohol. Is there a nutritional substitute for red wine that will provide the health benefits of red wine?
    I do not even like cooking with alcohol. Some recipes do call for grain alcohol, wine, or beer. What substitutions can be made to get the benefits?

  • PositiveMadga

    Is it good for people with candida? I don’t think so!

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