New Health Benefit of Red Wine Discovered

Photo (cc) by akash.mehra

Red wine drinkers can savor their next glass a little more thanks to new scientific research.

The results of a study that were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology show that the muscles of monkeys who received a supplement of an antioxidant called resveratrol are more resistant to fatigue.

Resveratrol is a natural component of blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and grape skins — and thus red wine.

The antioxidant is believed to help prevent damage to blood vessels, prevent blood clots and reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), according to the nonprofit Mayo Clinic.

The team of researchers behind the latest study of resveratrol also notes that prior animal studies involving mice found that resveratrol increases lifespan and slows the onset of diabetes. One prior study found that resveratrol mirrored the positive effects of aerobic exercise in mice fed a high-fat and high-sugar diet.

The latest study of resveratrol involved rhesus monkeys. It was conducted by researchers at Georgetown University, California State Polytechnic University and the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers wanted to find out if a resveratrol supplement would counteract the negative effects that a high-fat and high-sugar diet has on hind leg muscles.

They examined three muscles. The resveratrol supplement helped two of them:

  • The soleus muscle. This diet negatively affected this large muscle spanning from the knee to the heel that is used extensively in standing and walking. However, the resveratrol counteracted the diet’s negative effect.
  • The plantaris muscle. The diet did not negatively affect the 5- to 10-centimeter-long muscle along the back of the calf. However, the resveratrol did benefit the muscle.

The third muscle — the extensor digitorum longus, which is located along the outside of the lower leg — was unaffected by the diet or the resveratrol.

Researcher J.P. Hyatt, an associate professor at Georgetown University, explains in a news release that the results imply that the soleus and plantaris muscles were “far more fatigue-resistant than those without resveratrol.”

As for how the study might apply to humans, Hyatt says muscles of a similar type as the soleus and plantaris “can sustain longer periods of activity and could contribute to improved physical activity, mobility, or stability, especially in elderly individuals.”

The news release adds:

While these results are encouraging, and there might be a temptation to continue eating a high fat/high sugar diet and simply add a glass of red wine or a cup of fruit to one’s daily consumption, the researchers stress the importance of a healthy diet cannot be overemphasized.

What’s your take on the benefits of resveratrol? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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