Red wine improves your gut feel

by | Nov 18, 2019 | South Africa Wine Scan

Alcohol consumption of any kind can lead to various adverse health outcomes. However, over the past few years there have been numerous studies linking the moderate consumption of red wine to certain health benefits. Most of these benefits are attributed to the polyphenol content of red wine, which includes the highly popularised component, resveratrol. There have also been various studies linking gut microbiota to a person’s over all well-being. In this study researchers investigated the influence of various alcoholic beverages on the gut microbiota and the subsequent health outcomes in large population cohorts.


  • The study investigated the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine, spirits and the sum of all alcohols on the alpha-diversity (how many different species) of gut microbiota in 916 UK female individuals.
  • Alcohol consumption was derived from food frequency questionnaires where individuals reported the type, quantity and frequency of consumption.
  • Alcohol patterns were associated with alpha-diversity as well as beta-diversity (the number of species that are not the same in two different environments).
  • Alpha-diversity was considered a mediator of the association between alcohol consumption and BMI, LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, blood fasting glucose, insulin and chylomicron.
  • The study was repeated in two additional cohorts: the Flemish GUT Flora Project (1104 individuals) and the American Gut Project (904 individuals).


  • Both rare and frequent consumption of red wine correlated positively with α-diversity.
  • White wine also showed a suggestive positive correlation with α-diversity, but to a much lesser extent than red wine.
  • There were no positive correlations to α-diversity observed for any of the other alcoholic beverages reported.
  • Similar results were obtained for all three cohorts in terms of the positive effects of red wine on gut microbiota diversity.
  • In two of the cohorts there was an association with BMI reduction compared to the other alcoholic beverages.


The study showed that the increase in gut diversity as a result of red wine consumption may contribute to the health benefits associated with red wine consumption, such as improvement of cholesterol metabolism and reduced adiposity (obesity).


Le Roy, Caroline I. et al. (2019). Red wine consumption associated with increased gut microbiota α-diversity in 3 independent cohorts. Gastroenterology (Article in press) DOI:

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