Life-Extending Properties Revealed In Red Wine

Health benefit discovered in key red wine ingredient.

A team of research scientists at Harvard Medical School has found that resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine and grapes, increases lifespan, counters some of the effects of a high-calorie diet, and improves health in mice. 

Writing in the science journal Nature, the researchers describe how they examined middle-aged mice fed on a high-calorie, fatty diet. The mice developed obesity, insulin resistance and heart disease.

Mice on the same diet, but with resveratrol supplements, actually gained balance and coordination as they aged, showed decreased glucose levels, healthier hearts and liver tissue, and lived between 10 and 20% longer than their non-resveratrol ingesting counterparts.

"Drugs that come from this research could be very important in human medicine. If we're right about this we could tackle many diseases at their root cause, such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer," Dr. David Sinclair, associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, and one of the researchers on the project, told Wine Enthusiast. 

Sinclair says that resveratrol activates SIRT1, a genetic pathway that may control the aging process in a variety of organisms, including mammals.

"I drink red wine myself. And I like the thought that it might be healthy. But the amounts that you would need to consume to get the same doses as these mice would be over a hundred glasses per day, which I don't recommend," says Sinclair.  

Sinclair doesn't have a favorite vineyard, but his favorite wine is Pinot Noirbecause it has the highest quantity of resveratrol. 

Emmet Cole is a writer and journalist from Ireland currently based in Austin, Texas.

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