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Heavy Metals Found in Wine
Red, White Wines Carry Dangerous Doses of Toxic Metals
Red and white wines from most European nations carry potentially dangerous doses of at least seven heavy metals, U.K. researchers find.
A single glass of even the most contaminated wine isn't poisonous. But drinking just one glass of wine a day -- a common habit in Europe and the Americas -- might be very hazardous indeed, calculate biomolecular scientists Declan P. Naughton, PhD, and Andrea Petroczi.
Naughton calculated "target hazard quotients" (THQs) for wines from 15 countries in Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
A THQ over 1 indicates a health risk. Typical wines, Naughton found, have a THQ ranging from 50 to 200 per glass. Some wines had THQs up to 300. By comparison, THQs that have raised concerns about heavy-metal contamination of seafood typically range between 1 and 5.
The metal ions that accounted for most of the contamination were vanadium, copper, and manganese. But four other metals with THQs above 1 also were found: zinc, nickel, chromium, and lead.
All of these oxidizing metal ions pose potential problems. But the manganese contamination particularly worries behavioral neurotoxicologist Bernard Weiss, PhD.
"From the point of view of just one of these metals in wine, manganese, I would be concerned," Weiss tells WebMD. "Any time you see numbers like they have in this study, you begin to scratch your head and wonder about the effects over a long period of ingestion: Not one glass of wine last Tuesday, but a glass a day over a lifetime."
Manganese accumulation in the brain, Weiss notes, has been linked to Parkinson's disease.
Wines from three of the 15 nations studied had safe levels of heavy metals including Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. Since there was no data on heavy metals in U.S. wines, they did not include North American wines in their analysis.
Based on the maximum THQs for wines from each nation, here's the list of the worst offenders:
·         Hungary
·         Slovakia
·         France
·         Austria
·         Spain
·         Germany
·         Portugal
·         Greece
·         Czech Republic
·         Jordan
·         Macedonia
·         Serbia
Hungary and Slovakia had maximum potential THQ values over 350. France, Austria, Spain, Germany, and Portugal -- nations that import large quantities of wine to the U.S. -- had maximum potential THQ values over 100. Argentinean and Italian wines did not have significant maximum THQ values.
"If you buy a bottle of wine, the only thing it tells you on the label is the amount of alcohol. I like the idea of labeling wines with the amounts of heavy metals they contain," Naughton says. "Many wines don't have these metals. So let customers vote by choice whether they want the heavy metals."
Where do the heavy metals come from? That's unknown. Naughton says possible sources include the soil of the vineyards in which the wine grapes are grown, the fungicides sprayed on the grapes, and possible contaminants in the yeasts used to ferment the wine.
Weiss says he'd like to see such data. He'd be interested to see whether national health databases can link health problems to daily wine consumption, and whether wine drinkers have higher concentrations of heavy metals in their bodies than teetotalers do.
In their paper, Naughton and Petroczi note that drinking red wine has been linked to health benefits because it contains antioxidant compounds.
"However, the finding of hazardous levels of metal ions which can be pro-oxidants leads to a major question mark over the protective benefits of red wine," they suggest.
SOURCES: By Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD Health News, Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Naughton, D.P. and Petroczi, A. Chemistry Central Journal, Oct. 29, 2008; vol 2.
Naughton, D.P. Chemistry Central Journal, June 25, 2008; vol 2.
Declan P. Naughton, PhD, professor of biomolecular science, Kingston University, London.
Bernard Weiss, PhD, professor of environmental medicine, University of Rochester, N.Y.
Dr. Iverson's Comment
Well that is a real downer…kind-of like a bad hangover! 
Good information, especially because heavy metals are not commonly discussed in main stream media, particularly not from something like wine! 
No, it is not mercury in tuna or lead in our soil, these are minerals that we are told are good for us like vanadium, manganese, chromium, zinc and copper. What we have recognize though, is too much of a good thing can be a problem, and this is a perfect example. 
These are called trace minerals which mean that they are needed in very small amounts for proper cellular function. Remember the famous basketball player Bill Walton who was able to halt his osteoporotic bone fractures with manganese. In the wrong proportion though, they can imbalance other trace minerals forcing them out of balance and that can mean a good thing can be very bad.   As told in the article the relationship with high Manganese and Parkinson’s is one example.
Wine has been touted as a health food due to the presence of a very special antioxidant called RESVERATROL. Sixty Minutes has a full segment on resveratrol stating that it may be the key to a future in anti-aging research and preventing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and degenerative illnesses of Alzheimers and Parkinsons. One capsule of resveratrol is equivalent of hundreds of bottles of wine… a bit more than can be can be enjoyed in a night out!
Until more is known about wines, especially our American varieties, stick to those countries that are found to be safe. If you aren’t the romantic type, or if you are a lightweight, or just don’t like the ruby red, get a power punch of antioxidants by taking resveratrol as your daily red!
We have searched through dozens of companies to find the resveratrol antioxidants in the finest form, the highest potency and best price. 
Check our online pharmacy for more info on resveratrol and our super antioxidants:
Be wine-well!!
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