Archive for November, 2006

Red Wine

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

A piece in today’s Washington Post titled A Compound in Red Wine Makes Fat Mice Healthy reviews some interesting findings from the Harvard Medical School. It turns out that the long standing myth that a glass of red wine is good for ones health is true. Researchers have often noted general health benefits of red wine, but it looks as though researchers have identified the specific chemical in red wine responsible for the health benefits.

It is known as Resveratrol. In this particular study, two groups of rats were put on a high-fat, high-calorie diet that lead both groups to become obese. One group was given a supplement of resveratrol derived from red wine, which had significant impacts on the health of the rats. Those rats that did not receive resveratrol had a host of health problems: liver disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

 

But the mice that got resveratrol remained healthy and were about 30 percent less likely to die, living as long as the animals that ate a normal diet and stayed thin. Preliminary results indicate resveratrol increases their life span by about 15 percent, which is the equivalent of adding perhaps about 10 human years.

 

This may help explain the mysterious French Paradox. Researchers have often wondered why the French suffer few consequences from their fatty diets. While Americans, who also have diets similarly rich in fats and sugar, are plagued by high rates of heart disease and diabetes, the French bear few costs for their unhealthy diet. Researchers and entrepreneurs alike recognize the potential panacea that resveratrol may be:

 

We’ve been looking for something like this for the last 100,000 years, and maybe it’s right around the corner — a molecule that could be taken in a single pill to delay the diseases of aging and keep you healthier as you grow old,” said David A. Sinclair, a Harvard Medical School molecular biologist who led the study. “The potential impact would be huge.”

Until then, bottoms up!