Can Red Wine Stop Aging?

Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 in
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Have you heard the good things about wine and its health promoting benefits?

Researchers think they have found the answer to this question when they discovered Resveratrol, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory substance found in red wine grapes.

But how can drinking wine actually improve anyone's health, when it is a well-established fact that alcohol inhibits the body's absorption of all vitamins and can, when consumed regularly, lead to liver damage, dementia and a host of other nasty disorders?

Further studies of Resveratrol revealed that it helps prevent blood clots by keeping blood vessels open and pliable.

Scientists believe Resveratrol may do more than just protect the heart but could, in very high concentration, significantly extend life by preventing a number of age-related illnesses.

The French Paradox

One report about Resveratrol says it may be responsible for the so-called French Paradox. The fact that the fatty food-consuming French have low levels of heart disease may be due to the country's red wine consumption.

Early clinical reports show that it may have a role in decreasing insulin levels and blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol, and extending lifespans to a degree normally achieved through calorie restricted diets.

Barbara Walters interviewed Dr. David Sinclair, co-founder of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, for her news special on aging, Live to 150, Can You Do It?

In clinical trials, Sirtris is reporting positive results with Type 2 Diabetes, accounting for approximately 90 percent of all diabetes patients, and in the next five years, they plan to have a drug on the market that will treat several of the major diseases of aging based on resveratrol.

Neuroprotective and Anti-Cancer Effects

Scientists at the University of Missouri have published a review summarizing a great deal of research on the neuroprotective effects of grape polyphenols (of which Resveratrol is believed to be the most active.)

One study investigated whether these polyphenols might protect against the ravages of excessive alcohol consumption, which is known to damage or destroy brain cells through oxidative stress. Using rats that were fed diets both with and without ethanol (grain alcohol) and with and without grape polyphenols, the researchers found that the latter were highly effective in inhibiting ethanol-induced oxidative stress in the brain. Another study showed that these polyphenols provided some protection for the liver as well.

In further studies using just Resveratrol, the Missouri researchers (and others) found evidence of its neuroprotective effects against cell death mediated by or caused by oxidative stress. In addition, they described evidence for anti-inflammatory effects and for anti-cancer effects. The latter were first reported in a seminal study published in 1997 establishing that, in cell cultures, Resveratrol has an inhibitory effect on all three of the major steps in carcinogenesis: initiation, promotion, and progression. That study spawned a torrent of scientific papers elucidating the cellular and biochemical mechanisms of action of this remarkable compound, which has demonstrated activity against many forms of cancer.

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