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By Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press

A glass of wine a day could help prevent kidney disease, a new study concludes.

For those who already have kidney disease, wine might protect their hearts.

According to a University of Colorado-Denver researcher, people who drank up to one glass of wine a day had a 37 percent lower prevalence of chronic kidney disease than those who drank no wine at all. And those who already had chronic kidney disease were 29 percent less likely than teetotalers to have cardiovascular disease if they drank less than a glass a day.

The researcher, Dr. Tapan Mehta, used 2003-2006 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on 5,852 individuals, 1,031 of whom had chronic kidney disease. He presented preliminary findings this week at a meeting of the National Kidney Foundation.

The findings back up previous studies that also suggest that a single glass of red wine a day for women — up to two glasses for men — help protect your heart, said Dr. Leslie Spry, spokesman for the foundation.

It may be that the alcohol and antioxidants in red wine boost levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protect against artery damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Mehta’s study didn’t differentiate between red and white wine.

“It doesn’t surprise me that, as we learn that wine is protective to the heart, we’re seeing the same effect on the kidneys,” said Dr. Joel Topf, a Detroit area nephrologist and president of the scientific advisory board of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

But think twice before you run out to purchase a case of your favorite wine.

Topf notes that more research must be done to clearly establish cause and effect. It’s not clear, for example, whether those who were sickly or had kidney disease had avoided alcohol because of their health concerns or whether the avoidance led to health problems.

More important, too much wine can push up blood pressure — a major cause of chronic kidney disease.

Photo: Davide Restivo via Wikimedia Commons

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