Saturday, March 7, 2015

Resveratrol and Red Wine

We have covered this ground in the past but the studies keep rolling out new claims for moderate alcohol consumption so let's do our due diligence here to keep our faithful readers updated. Specifically, let's look at the "alcohol consumption is as good as exercise" study from the University of Alberta, Canada.  I mention this one out of utter humility, having recently posted a distorted and oversimplified pop magazine report on the subject on the store's facebook page.

Here are the facts.  This study used laboratory rats separated into four groups: sedentary rats, sedentary rats with resveratrol injections, active rats, and active rats with resveratrol.  In short, the sedentary rats who got resveratrol shots were judged to be 25% healthier than the sedentary rats who did not receive the shots. That is where my magazine report stopped.  What the report didn't say was that the active rats with resveratrol were four times healthier than the sedentary group!

It should be noted, I suppose, that the active/resveratrol group was demonstrably healthier than the active/non-resveratrol group but the larger qualifier here is the resveratrol itself.  As we reported here a year ago (Blogpost 3/12/13), resveratrol is a natural phenolic compound found in red grape skins amongst other places.  Phenolic compounds are synthesized by plants in response to the introduction of pathogens or wounding of some kind.  Resveratrol also simulates enzymes called Sirtuins which are produced by exercise in combination with a healthy diet.  The net result of this wonder drug on the workings of the body are an increase of good cholesterol (HDL) which removes fatty deposits created by bad cholesterol (LDL).  But going back to the study, the exercise was what actually created the primary healthy numbers in the rats while the effect of the resveratrol was statistically significant but marginal by comparison.

To my knowledge there have still been no resveratrol studies on people and the concentrations of the compound for actual healthful effects would have to be huge.  Red wine drinkers may have to consume a hundred glasses a day to get the percentage of resveratrol the rats got!  Still the reports keep rolling in from around the world. Whether it's resveratrol or something else, alcohol consumption in moderation (one or two glasses a day after age 45) appears to be good for you.

Henry Leung was one of the giants of the current wine era in these parts.  Let's call him the "empresario" of educational wine tastings. Henry retired a couple years ago and at about the same time his employer, Hemispheres Global Wines, decided to stop servicing the Gainesville market.  Two weeks ago we implored the company to give us another shot. Hemispheres' strong suit is California wines and that is what Tim Servold, the current empresario, will be pouring here on Friday the 13th of March after 5pm.  Please join us.

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