If only red wine was as good for the mind as it was for the soul! A new study suggests this just might be true. Researchers from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that resveratrol, a compound that occurs naturally in many fruit, such as the grapes used to made red wine, can help to protect neurons, stopping the brain from aging and keeping it younger, longer. This finding further adds to the health benefits of wine.
The study, published online in The Journals of Gerontology, found that mice that were given resveratrol for a year had better conservation of the connections between neurons in their brains than mice who were not given this supplement. As a result, these mice had brains that resembled those of younger mice. This delayed brain aging was most apparent in the neuromuscular junctions that help to send signals from the brain to the muscles.
“I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits,” said the study’s primary author, assistant professor Gregorio Valdez, The Independent reported.
The Scripps Research Institute in Florida found that what makes resveratrol so special is that,when consumed, it binds to estrogen receptors without stimulating them to reproduce. As a result, this creates an anti-inflammatory effect in the body which does everything from reducing the risk of heart disease to reducing concentrations of bad cholesterol, The Scripps Research Institute reported. What’s more, further research has found that resveratrol may also be responsible for lowering cancer and diabetes risk.
Red and white wine get their resveratrol from the grapes used to make them, but if you aren’t keen on wine there are other ways to incorporate this helpful supplement into your body. Harvard Health reports that resveratrol is also found in peanuts, pistachios, grapes, red and white wine, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa and dark chocolate.
The results are exciting, hinting at a future where we can preserve our brain and muscle function well into old age. However, the study researchers told The Independent that, although resveratrol is found in wine, with higher quantities in red wine than in white, there is not enough of it in the drink for you to reap resveratrol benefits from wine alone. If you thought a bottle of red wine could take the place of healthy eating, think again. The study also found that although resveratrol did help protect the brain from aging, this protection was not as great as that seen in calorie-restrictive diets.
“In wine, resveratrol is in such small amounts you could not drink enough of it in your life to have the benefits we found in mice given resveratrol,” said Valdez. “These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.”
Source: Stockinger J, Maxwell N, Shapiro D, et al. Caloric Restriction Mimetics Slow Aging of Neuromuscular Synapses and Muscle Fibers. The Journals of Gerontology . 2017