Red Wine Compound Displays Anti-Aging Properties

Posted by Admin on August 8, 2011
A natural compound found in grapes and red wine appears to have the potential to work against the causes of a variety of age-related illness, potentially curing them in the process. That compound, resveratrol, may become a new class of drugs that targets age-related disorders such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and cardiovascular problems.

Resveratrol is already being clinically tested on diabetics, and works by targeting cellular energy-production organelles known as mitochondria – hundreds of tiny power packets that exist within every cell. Numerous researchers are already working on and testing drugs that restore the mitochondria’s potency to convert glucose into energy, although their work has only found success in mice model studies.

However, a pharmaceutical version of resveratrol for humans is already being developed for consumption in our markets. According to Doug Wallace, a mitochondrial medicine pioneer at the University of California at Irvine, this new pharmaceutical could revolutionize Western Medicine. He believes that all the conditions that are commonly found in our aging society, which nobody worried about centuries ago when infectious diseases were prevalent, could now become treatable.

According to the mitochondrial theory of disease, the cells’ mitochondria wear out over time, making them less and less efficient. The mitochondria also produce more and more dangerous free radicals which damage vital cell proteins and nucleic acids, including DNA. The slow decline of the mitochondria eventually crosses a threshold, resulting in the body succumbing to one or more degenerative, chronic illnesses.

The new drugs underway intend to stimulate enzymes that improve mitochondrial function and effectively roll back the body’s clock. According to Stephen Jay Olshansky, Univesity of Illinois public health and aging expert, there’s enough evidence already available to suggest that since we’ve come this far with mice, there’s a good chance we could achieve similar results with people. He strongly believes that this compound should be considered in new approaches to health and disease prevention in this century.

An additional review of research from the University of Florida finds that resveratrol may not prevent old age, but it still has a wealth of age-related benefits. According to UF, exercise psychologist, Heather Hausenblas, this comprehensive review of human clinical research has found the polyphenol compound to have anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties

Although, there are a number of clinical studies showing reveratrol’s tonic effects on animals, there is little evidence that there are benefits to human health. Hausenblas claims this is because there haven’t been enough studies performed with humans. However, she notes that scientists have long believed that resveratrol and human health have been linked. The French people enjoy low levels of cardiovascular disease, despite consuming a diet rich in saturated fats and oils. Many researchers believe the reason for this paradox is found in France’s national drink – red wine, the most important dietary source of resveratrol.

The UF study has also found that resveratrol’s overall contribution to good health promises to be far reaching. Various clinical trials indicate that this substance can prevent the growth of some cancers in mice, inhibits enzymes that cause inflammation, shrink tumors, and increase blood flow, thus reducing cardiovascular disease. In many instances, the lives of obese animals are also extended.

Hausenblas and her colleagues believe that continued research on resveratrol’s potential to alleviate human age-related conditions will become increasingly more important as the country’s 76 million baby boomers continue to age.

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