A research team in Belgium found that wine may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Though reasons for the effects were unclear, the team found that patients who suffer from MS relapse and also drank wine, had less severe symptoms.
MS is an autoimmune disease that greatly affects the central nervous system. The two major kinds of MS are relapse MS and progressive MS. Relapse MS is when the symptoms disappear temporary during periods of remission. Progressive MS sufferers do not have any such periods and continue to suffer without relief.
The Belgium team examined 1,431 subjects with both relapse and progressive forms of MS and compared their symptoms to habits of consumption. 80 percent of the participants drank up to seven glasses of wine per week. The rest were observed for different consumptions that involved eating fish, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
Those who drank wine, were found to have a decrease in symptoms and enjoyed a “protective effect”. The same held true for those who drank coffee or ate fish regularly. Cigarette smoking on the other hand, had no alleviating effects.
Marie D’Hooghe, a neurologist at Belgium’s National Center for Multiple Sclerosis told Wine Spectator, “Because we have no longitudinal data on changes of consumption over time, these associations could indicate either causality or reverse causality”.
She added, “In the latter case, this could mean that persons who have less progression of disability feel more comfortable to drink alcohol, including wine”.
The study offered one possible cause, resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and known to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. The study text states, “In experimental models, [resveratrol] has been shown to protect against various neurological disorders.” However, the author adds that MS is a complicated ailment and sufferers should not drink wine based purely on this research.