Ingredients in Red Wine May Lengthen Lifespan

June 05, 2008 10:13 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
A new study suggests red wine improves longevity and prevents degenerative diseases, joining other recent research linking certain diets to additional health benefits.

30-Second Summary

A recent report found that moderate consumption of red wine, already known to promote health, may be even more effective in extending human lifespan than previously believed. The compound resveratrol, an ingredient in some red wines, was found to activate protein agents called “sirtuins” which preserve and protect tissues in the human body.

Some researchers are already downing daily capsules of wine-derived resveratrol, but others question if there is enough data on the compound’s safety and effectiveness. 

A November 2007 Boston Globe article reported that Sirtris Pharmaceuticals has created a drug mimicking resveratrol, but with much greater potency. Studies on humans had not yet been conducted, but Sirtris researchers said animal tests showed health-enhancing responses—such as greater insulin sensitivity and stronger mitochondria—that are also found in restricted-calorie diets.

The restricted-calorie diet, one of several dietary regimens known to enhance longevity, was also recently shown to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Other recent studies found that the Mediterranean diet, long thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, may also help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Some observers even point to the apparent benefits of the traditional French style of eating, which is relatively high in fat but low in calories. In the so-called French Paradox, much of France’s population is slim and heart-healthy despite enjoying a liberal diet, while Americans struggle with widespread obesity and heart disease despite being gym-obsessed and stringently restricting fat intake.

Headline Links: Wine-activated proteins may extend life

Background: Isolating wine’s longevity factor and testing it on mice

Related Topics: Longevity studies tout various diets; the ‘French paradox’

Reference: Drink to your health with red wine


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