Red Wine Curbs Obesity, Increases Lifespan
A new study finds that drinking red wine fights obesity and increases lifespans.
Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan.
Their report, published electronically today in Nature, implies that very large daily doses of resveratrol could offset the unhealthy, high-calorie diet thought to underlie the rising toll of obesity in the United States and elsewhere, should people respond to the drug as mice do.
Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and in red wine and is conjectured to be a partial explanation for the French paradox, the puzzling fact that people in France tend to enjoy a high-fat diet yet suffer less heart disease than Americans.
Even more strikingly, the substance sharply extended the mice’s lifetimes. Those fed resveratrol along with the high-fat diet died many months later than the mice on high fat alone, and at the same rate as mice on a standard healthy diet. They had all the pleasures of gluttony but paid none of the price.
The researchers hope their findings will have relevance to people too. Their study shows, they conclude, that orally taken drugs “at doses achievable in humans can safely reduce many of the negative consequences of excess caloric intake, with an overall improvement in health and survival.”
Several experts said that people wondering if they should take resveratrol should wait until more results were in, particularly safety tests in humans. “It’s a pretty exciting area but these are early days,” said Dr. Ronald Kahn, president of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Information about resveratrol’s effects on human metabolism should be available in a year or so, he said, adding, “Have another glass of pinot noir — that’s as far as I’d take it right now.”
Now, anecdotally, I’m not sure this is true. I’ve been drinking about half a bottle of pinot noir a day for the last couple of years and am getting fatter. Maybe I should increase the dosage?