Red wine and resveratrol

Clions Blog Recently I saw an article online informing the world, that the French were now encouraged to only drink 2 glasses per day.

Which led me to wonder… How much do they currently drink ?

Apparently in the ’50 the then Prime Minister encouraged people to drink less than a litre a meal ! 

Secondly, I began wondering was there truth to the French Paradox .. That drinking red wine reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and therefore confer longevity?

The French Paradox

First of all the French Paradox was reported in the scientific community about 25 years ago in the Lancet Journal. Researchers found that people living in of France had lower risk of cardiovascular disease despite eating a lot of saturated fats, and having high blood pressure and rates of smokers similar to the UK and the USA. Rates of cardiovascular disease were similar to China and Japan. After comparing multiple dietary and lifestyle factors, wine was identified as the reason for this. This paradox was also found in with the Cretans and the Japanese who both consume moderate amounts of alcohol in the form of wine and beer respectively.

Its effects on cardiovascular disease, biologically, are thought to come about via antioxidant mechanisms. (Anti-oxidants result in lower amounts of damage or inflammation- good for arteries and body)

Drunk, Fat Mice

Another very interesting I found when looking at the literature, concerned obesity and wine consumption in mice. Researchers fed mice with a standard diet, another group with a high calorie diet and another with a high calorie diet and  wine (lucky them). The group that became obese but were given wine lived longer and had better motor skills( their brains declined less) and had less cardiovascular disease than the sober obese mice.

**They were’nt actually given wine, they were given resveratrol which is the active ingredient in wine that confers the cardiovascular and longevity benefits.


Could guilt free gluttony become the way in future ?

 Credit –
Cornelius de Vos The Triuph of Bacchus


Which brings me to Resveratrol !

This is the substance, a polyphenol, found in grapes, berries and red wine, that has gathered significant momentum in the scientific community with respect to ageing and longevity. It is thought in part to explain the French paradox.

Now, it is important to stress that a lot of this research has been done on animals, mice specifically. But in those studies, it has reduces time of onset of alzeheimers, protected against cardiovascular disease, improved insulin sensitivity. 

You can buy this over the counter in Ireland.

BUT before you rush out and buy it, the studies so far on humans given resveratrol have not resulted in much statistically.

Why ?

Multiple reasons.

  • Bioavailability, or how the body uses/absorbs the resveratrol.
  • Certain very mild genetic differences between people and animals in the pathway resveratrol works in
  • How we metabolise it

Prof David Sinclair, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School studies longevity, or in his words, living healthily for longer periods.

He explains in this video, what he and his lab are trying to achieve as they further research resveratrol and healthy ageing. Of note, fasting or calorific intake, has also been shown to improve longevity.




And lastly, heres a funny video of a lady falling making grape juice for wine that always makes me laugh !


Dr. Cx

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