[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 15:03 GMT
A glass of red wine in a pill
Many studies suggest a glass or two of red wine is good for health
Scientists in Italy are developing a pill that will have all of the health benefits of a glass of red wine.

The move follows a string of studies suggesting the tipple can protect against a range of conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

The evidence is so strong some hospitals in the UK prescribe red wine to heart attack patients.

The pill will contain all of the healthy ingredients of red wine without the alcohol, says New Scientist.

Researchers at the Pavese Pharma Biochemical Institute in Pavia say they can turn red wine into a pill by freeze-drying the ingredients.

"Freeze-drying and compacting the mix leaves a tablet with all the benefits of a glass of wine, say the inventors," the magazine reports.

Nigel Denby of the British Dietetic Association said the pill could be of benefit to some people.
There is a lot of evidence that one or two glass of red wine a day can be beneficial
Nigel Denby,
British Dietetic Association

"Certainly there is a lot of evidence that one or two glass of red wine a day can be beneficial, particularly for heart disease," he told BBC News Online.

"But obviously that has to remain in safe limits which for women is 14 units of alcohol a week and 21 units for men."

"A pill may be something that could be useful for someone who chooses not to drink any alcohol or for people who cannot drink for medical reasons.

"However, as a general rule we advise people to stick to original foods instead of taking supplements."

Alcoholism clues

Meanwhile, scientists in the United States believe they may have discovered why alcoholism appears to run in families.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis said they had found a gene that seems to put people more at risk of alcoholism.

However, writing in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research they said further studies are needed to find out how the gene, called GABRG3, works.

The researchers said it was unlikely that a single gene can cause someone to become dependent on alcohol.

"There is no gene that directly causes you to become alcoholic, but rather there are genes that alter your risk of becoming alcoholic," said Dr Danielle Dick, who led the study.

The researchers based their findings on a study of 2,282 people from 260 families.

Dr David Ball of Action on Addiction welcomed the study.

"These findings support previous research linking GABA receptor genes to a greater risk of alcoholism," he said.

"Finding the genes that predispose individuals to alcohol dependence will stimulate the development of better treatments for this condition and in the future it may be possible to tailor treatments to an individual on the basis of a genetic test."

Hospital gives patients wine
02 Jul 03  |  Wiltshire
Red wine 'could prevent cancer'
05 Nov 02  |  Health
Gene clue to heavy drinking
13 Aug 02  |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific