The Magic in Red Wine
For years, you’ve read about how red wine—a staple of the French diet—is one reason why the French have a low rate of heart disease despite their reputation for overloading on rich, high-cholesterol foods. Sounds good, doesn’t it? What those reports don’t tell you, though, is that the French also have the highest rate of liver cirrhosis in the world!
Red wine can be a double-edged sword, and that’s what I tell patients who proudly inform me they’ve increased their intake of red wine as part of a lifestyle overhaul. I remind them about the downside of alcohol, and encourage them to drink it in moderation. A glass every day or two is the limit.
Red wine, or rather the red grape, definitely has some good things going for it. Researchers at Harvard University have found that huge amounts of a red wine extract called resveratrol significantly increased the health, vitality, and lifespan of obese mice—despite them being fed an unhealthy, high-fat diet. This extract also appeared to extend the life of normal mice.
In addition to longer life, the researchers found that the supplemented mice also had a lower rate of diabetes, liver problems, and other fat-related disorders. In fact, they were astounded to discover that the organs of the mice looked normal even though they shouldn’t have. The findings prompted the suggestion that mammals given ultra-high doses of resveratrol might be able to reap the benefits of cutting calories without the challenge of actually doing it. More studies are being planned, possibly with monkeys.
Resveratrol is a flavonoid antioxidant compound in grape skins. You’ll also find it in red grape juice and red grapes, and you can purchase it in supplement form (the supplements are much more concentrated). It is indeed an exciting and promising substance, and I’ve been including it in my supplement formulas for years.
Before the latest tests with mice, researchers found that resveratrol also had anti-aging effects in yeast, worms, and fruit flies. More than 1,500 experiments on resveratrol have been conducted since the 1980s, and the research appears to be accelerating. Here are a few of the important findings:
- It protects against free radical damage to the sensitive endothelial lining of arteries in atherosclerosis.
- It improves mitochondrial function (cellular energy production) and aerobic capacity in animal studies.
- It speeds the death of various human cancer cells in laboratory experiments.
- It protects against fragile, leaky blood vessels that are involved in age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy—major causes of vision loss.
You may wonder how much resveratrol the long-living mice received. Good question. The answer: the equivalent of an adult human drinking a hundred bottles of wine a day!
Obviously, that amount is hardly a workable option for you and me. We still have much more to learn about the benefits and limitations of resveratrol supplementation for humans, but for now I recommend 5–10 mg of reseveratrol a day in supplement form. You can buy resveratrol in health food stores.
Enjoy What You've Just Read?
Get it delivered to your inbox! Signup for E-News and you'll get great content like you've just read along with other great tips and guides for Dr. Sinatra!
Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra's Favorites
Doctor-recommended support for healthy cholesterol ratios, blood pressure & overall heart health
Refuel your cellular engines for efficient heart function
Strength, energy, endurance--get the targeted nutrient support a man needs most
Stay youthful, healthy, vibrant and balanced with nutrient support designed to meet a woman's needs