Aging Health

Resveratrol: 700 Bottles of Wine On The Wall

Red wine has long been hailed as good for your health. Years ago it was found to contain resveratrol, adding to the good reputation of red wine. Nearly 10 years ago resveratrol was first believed to have beneficial actions by virtue of its activating sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) which is an NAD+ dependent deacetylase thought to protect against several metabolic disorders including  type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss (actually SIRT3), and cardiovascular disease. The actions of sirloins are believed to mimic the effect of caloric restriction on lifespan and disease in mammals. The actual caloric restriction needed to have beneficial effects though is too great for humans to attempt although gluttony is clearly both the opposite and detrimental to good health.

Recent research shows that things are more complicated than that, as research seems to do in many fields. Apparently it there is an intermediary reaction in which phospodiesterases which hydrolyze cAMP are inhibited. Skeletal muscle and white fat tissue responds to resveratrol by increasing the levels of cAMP. We need more research before we are able to use resveratrol as medicine.

Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology (Feb 29, 2012) quotes Andrew Murray, interviewed by the Telegraph of Cambridge University, UK about how much red wine it would take to ingest enough resveratrol to have physiological action. He is quoted as saying “you would need to drink about 700 bottles [of red wine] to get a meaningful dose.”

In short, it may be that researchers who like red wine, hail the miracles of red wine, those who like coffee, hail coffee. And the same may go for chocolate. Perhaps the effects of each augment the other which would be better than canceling each other out.