Swine, Wine & Vodka

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 10:06am

Researchers use pigs to test the health benefits of red wine and vodka.

Red wine and vodka, paired with pigs?

The curious combo is the work of Dr. Frank Sellke, the chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Rhode Island Hospital and his colleagues.

"Well actually I'm a pig farmer from way back. I grew up in Indiana on a pig farm, so I've always had a liking of pigs," Sellke said.

The linking led to the rare research taking a look at the effects of wine and vodka on pigs with high cholesterol.

"So we actually had three groups. One got a high fat diet, one got a high fat diet with red wine and the other group got the high fat died with vodka, which is essentially pure alcohol," Sellke said.

After seven weeks, the findings showed the pigs who were given wine and vodka had greater blood flood to the heart.

Sellke said red wine actually added another benefit.

"Red wine had some antioxidant effects, so not only are you seeing improvement in blood flow, but you're improving heart health," he said.

"We're not advocating anyone drinking excessive amounts of any alcohol whether it's vodka or beer or wine. But I think a small to moderate amount is actually healthy for patients."

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