For this article, I’ve looked into multiple pieces of scientific evidence to find out if wines contain probiotics and what are the best options to try without risking your gut health.
Have you recently become fond of probiotics and are now wondering if you can consume them in your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Well, the good news is that you are sipping in beneficial bacteria with every glass of red or white wine, as it is rich in probiotics. This implies that drinking wine in moderation may support a healthy intestinal micro-ecology which is crucial in preventing gut diseases.
Even so, this doesn’t give you a free pass to overconsumption of wine, as the sugar and alcohol in it may also negatively affect the gut.
In the following sections, I’ve shared the microbial constitution of red and white wine and how these drinks affect gut health.
Are There Probiotics In Wine?
Yes, wines are fermented beverages; therefore, they contain probiotics.
For instance, a study on palm wine reported that it mainly contains two species in the LAB group, namely the Fructobacillus durionis (40.33%) and Leuconostoc mesenteroides (45.66%).
Apart from these two, other LAB species like Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides, Lactobacillus paracasei, L. fermentum, Weissella cibaria, Enterococcus casseliflavus, and Lactococcus lactis were also found in the samples occasionally.
And this is not all; palm wine may also contain three bacteriocinogenic LAB strains such as Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus brevis.
These species have high antimicrobial activity against some most prevalent pathogenic species like E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella and Staphylococcus species.
But still, despite the apparent probiotic potential of wine, you should still drink it in moderation.
Correspondingly, the mayo clinic recommends drinking wine in the following ranges:
- Up to one drink (5 ounces) a day for women.
- Up to one drink (5 ounces) daily for men over 65 years.
- Up to two drinks a day for men below 65 years.
Does Red Wine Have Probiotics?
Yes, red wine may be abundant in both lactic acid bacteria and yeast.
This diversity was reported in a study that assessed the probiotic profile of red wine and found that it contains 11 strains of Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) belonging to the genus Pediococcus pentosaceus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Oenococcus oeni.
Here, the LAB contributes to malolactic fermentation (MLF) in wine-making by converting L-malic acid to L-lactic acid.
Likewise, the presence of a probiotic yeast became evident from research that isolated a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae from wine made in Spain.
Does White Wine Have Probiotics?
Yes, white wine has both yeast and bacterial probiotic species.
In one study, the microbial analysis of the Xynisteri (white) grape post-fermentation revealed that it was abundant in yeast species like Hanseniaspora nectarophila, S. cerevisiae, H. guilliermondii, and Aureobasidium pullulans.
Similarly, the bacterial diversity of comprised of the Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Streptococcus, and Acetobacter species.
Does Homemade Wine Have Probiotics?
Yes, homemade wine has probiotics since it is prepared by fermenting raw materials with certain microbes.
What is even better is that the natural wine that you make yourself will have a higher diversity of probiotic bacteria than the commercially made wine.
This is because the commercial wine goes through rigorous filtration steps post-fermentation to get rid of any sediment or bacteria, which greatly reduces its probiotic content.
Correspondingly, a research paper discusses that barley wines that are homemade in the high-altitude conditions of Tibet contain 27 lactic acid bacteria, including some unique microbial strains.
Does Wine Affect Probiotics? If So, How?
Yes, wine may affect probiotics either positively or negatively.
On the one hand, the alcohol in wine may decrease the survival of other bacteria or probiotics. On the other, the good bacteria in it may instead amplify the number of probiotic species in the gut.
Read further to see how I explain the details in the subsequent sections.
Is Wine Good For Gut Bacteria?
Yes, the probiotics in wine contribute to the structure and richness of the gut microbiome and overall gut health. Studies prove that the wine strains can survive better at pH as low as 1.8, have a higher bile tolerance, and are more resistant to the lysozyme in the saliva.
Hence, they have a better chance of adhering to the intestinal walls and colonizing there.
Some scientists propose that the bacterial or yeast species may attain these features while they are adapting to the acid, ethanol, and phenolic compounds present in wine.
Another study reported that wine LAB might release extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which may reduce colitis symptoms and prevent the formation of biofilms by pathogens.
Some wine strains are also suspected of having roles in modulating the immune system and preventing or treating inflammatory diseases like atopic dermatitis or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
What is more, is that the answer to ‘is wine a prebiotic’ is also a yes.
This is because the polyphenols in wine work like prebiotics to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and also show antimicrobial activity towards pathogenic bacteria.
Does Wine Kill Probiotics?
Yes, wine may kill probiotics. As a study reported that alcoholic beverages like wine that have a low ethanolic content stimulate gastric acid and gastrin secretion in the stomach.
This may further acidify the stomach environment, and most probiotic strains are not adapted to such harsh conditions. Ultimately, there is a lower chance of passage of live bacteria into the small intestine; hence, the efficacy of the probiotics is reduced.
However, probiotic bacteria encapsulated in a delayed-release capsule are delivered directly into the small intestine; hence, their diversity is not lost in the stomach.
One example of such a probiotic supplement is the Yourbiology Gut+ supplement, which uses the MAKtrek bypass technology to deliver the probiotic strains.
Can You Take Probiotics With Wine?
Yes, you can take probiotics with wine, but it may be counterproductive.
As mentioned above, drinking wine may make the stomach pH more acidic, which may kill the probiotic bacteria.
Therefore, although there are no safety risks associated with this combination, it may not be beneficial either, and it may rather compromise the effectiveness of the probiotics.
So, it would be best if you could space out the two as much as possible.
Best Probiotic Wine
As I mentioned above, red wine is the best probiotic wine out there.
But if you are confused about which one you should choose among its many kinds, then here are some of the best red wines for gut health.
1. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is one of the doctors-recommended ‘dry wines’ that don’t damage heart health as much as other alcoholic beverages.
Its features that are beneficial for the gut are high resveratrol levels, low sugar and alcohol percentage as well as a fewer calorie count.
This wine is called dry wine because it is fermented for longer and leaves no residual sugar behind.
This is the same reason why it has a lower alcohol and calorie content and doesn’t burden the digestive process.
The other gut aid is resveratrol which is a polyphenol that increases the probiotic bacteria belonging to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus in the gut.
If you are interested in the cost, then according to the Wine-searcher, a 750 ml bottle may be available at $4-$3400 in the USA.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape wine that has a bold and rich flavor, but unlike other wines, it won’t stain your teeth when you drink it.
The gut-healthy characteristics of this wine are its good tannin content, moderate acidity, and presence of proanthocyanidins.
The tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols that contribute to the wine’s ability to age well and add a bitter taste to it.
Additionally, nature research reports that tannins reduce the inflammation in the colon caused due to colitis.
These bioactive compounds also support the diversity of gut commensal species, such as Bacteroides, which prevent the colonization of pathogens.
The moderate acidity of this wine makes it a perfect drink to pair with food and won’t acidify your stomach pH so much, so it makes you feel unwell.
Lastly, research shows that proanthocyanidins from grape seeds strengthen the intestinal barrier and reduce inflammation due to obesity and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Now coming towards its price tag, according to Wine-searcher, its 750 ml bottle may cost around $6-$7600 in the USA.
Malbec is a bold red wine made of thick-skinned grapes and has a smooth taste with notes of berries and chocolate.
Its gut-healthy properties are contributed by a high polyphenol content that includes resveratrol, quercetin, and other antioxidants.
Roughly, the antioxidant content of Malbec is 4 times greater than that of Merlot and 2 times the Cabernet Sauvignon’s antioxidant content.
Studies report that high amounts of polyphenols reduce inflammation and maintain gut health and microbiome diversity.
According to Wine-searcher, the price of a 750 ml malbec bottle may be between $5- $300 in the USA.
Merlot is considered one of the most relished wines due to its fruity flavor (plum and blackberry) and smooth taste.
It positively impacts gut health due to its low acidity and sugar and a high quantity of polyphenols such as resveratrol and procyanidin.
According to Wine-searcher, a 750 ml bottle of this healthy dry wine may cost around $3-$1300.
Is Wine A Probiotic?
Yes, wine does contain probiotics, but you can’t replace your probiotic supplements with it. The reason is that the probiotic content of either natural or commercial wines is not specified.
Moreover, despite the beneficial effects of wine on the gut, it also has certain ingredients like sugar, alcohol, and stabilizers (sulfur) that may harm gut health.
Does Red Wine Vinegar Have Probiotics?
No, according to the Harvard school of public health, although vinegar is produced from further fermentation of red wine, it does not contain any beneficial bacteria. This is justified because, after the completion of the fermentation process, all the bacteria are strained out before storing the vinegar in bottles.
Does Beer Have Probiotics?
No, beers contain the ‘hop iso-α-acids,’ which prevent the survival and proliferation of lactic acid bacteria. However, new co-fermenting strategies are being developed to enable the survival of Lactobacillus and probiotic species.
Additionally, The Telegraph reports that, according to Professor Eric Claassen, unlike beers that go through single fermentation, strong Belgian beers undergo a two-step fermentation process, due to which they attain a probiotic content similar to yogurt or kimchi.
Final – Does wine count as a probiotic?
Red wine, especially one that is prepared at home, has the highest probiotic potential, and therefore it has the most positive impact on gut health. However, you should not replace your probiotics with wine.
The reason is that many health risks are associated with the consumption of alcoholic drinks, especially because they may affect your liver.
Besides this, wine is not an ideal probiotic drink since it also contains sugar, alcohol, sulfur as a stabilizer, or traces of pesticides and herbicides, which may simultaneously damage the gut.
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