Health Benefits of Iowa Red Wines

October 29, 2018

By Somchai Rice

How many times have you heard about the heart healthy benefits of red wine?  The antioxidants or polyphenols in red wine have been touted as a heart healthy benefit to the occasional glass of wine.  This article will take a closer look at the antioxidant resveratrol, potential health benefits, and resveratrol levels found in 6 Iowa red wines.

            In pharmacokinetics, ADME is an abbreviation for absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.  These 4 parameters influence the concentration of a given compound, and thus the pharmacological activity of the compound throughout the body.  When drinking a glass of wine, the process of absorption is ingestion.  ADME has been studied in rat models, dosed at 20 mg/kg of resveratrol extract.  Resveratrol was found in the stomach, duodenum, liver and kidney with resveratrol monoglucuronide and resveratrol monosulfide (as a result of Pass 2 metabolism) excreted in urine (Wang 2008).  The primary target of resveratrol is sirtuin 1 and interacts with many proteins to indirectly activate sirtuin 1 (NIH 2012). Acute antioxidant and anti-cancer affects have reported (de la Lastra and Vellegas 2007).  Chronic effects are unclear due to insufficient data.

            A method was developed at Iowa State University to quantify trans-resveratrol in red wine using solid-phase microextraction, using on-fiber derivatization and gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (Cai 2009).  trans-Resveratrol was quantified in six Iowa red wines, with measured concentrations varying from 12.72 to 851.9 µg/L.  In other words, you have to drink 1 liter of Iowa red wine in order to also consume 0.01272 to 0.8519 mg of resveratrol. Hebbar et al (2005) showed that a high dose of resveratrol (300 to 3000 g/kg per day) upregulates phase II and antioxidant genes in rats.

            It is clear that the limiting factor between health benefits and death is in fact, ethanol.  The LD50 (the lethal dose, given all at once, which causes death in 50% of the population) of ethanol in rats is 7060 mg/kg.  Extrapolated to humans, we would all die before we drank enough wine to reap the heart healthy benefits of red wine. So enjoy your favorite glass of Iowa red wine this fall, but please drink responsibly.


Wang, D., Y. Xu, W. Liu. (2008) “Tissue distribution and excretion of resveratrol in rat after oral administration of Polygonum cuspidatum extract (PCE).” Phytomedicine 15(10): 859-866.

NIH (National Institutes of Health): NIH study uncovers probable mechanism underlying resveratrol activity. Accessed 26 OCT 2018

de la Lastra, C.A., I. Villegas. (2007). “Resveratrol as an antioxidant and pro-oxidant: mechanisms and clinical implications.” Biochem Soc Tran 35:1156-1160.

Cai, L., Koziel, J.A., Dharmadhikari, M., van Leeuwen, J. (2009) “Rapid determination of trans-resveratrol in red wine by solid-phase microextraction with on-fiber derivatization and multidimensional gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.” Journal of Chromatography A 1216(2): 281-287.

Hebbar V, Shen G, Hu R, Kim BR, Chen C, Korytko PJ, Crowell JA, Levine BS, Kong AN. Toxicogenomics of resveratrol in rat liver. Life Sci. 2005;76:2299–2314.