Sunday, March 04, 2007

Resveratrol - not so much

The 'either this or that' confrontations between winos and beer geeks -- or more politely, betweeen wine advocates and beer advocates -- can be silly and often fallacious. "We are all friends in fermentation," says Fritz Maytag, owner of Anchor Brewing, in the Beer Hunter videos from Discovery.

That being said, there has been news recently about the health benefits of red wine over and above that of beer, because of resveratrol - a compound found in red wine but not beer. However, a recent study conducted to determine the amount actually found in modern wine discovered: Not so much!

So we can return to promulgating the health benefits provided by moderate drinking - derived from the alcohol itself and from various polyphenols found in both wine and beer- and the health benefits from moderate calorie consumption.

Although French cuisine is world renowned for its rich sauces, gourmet cheeses, and fine wines, the French enjoy a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease.12,13 This apparent anomaly has led scientists to wonder what dietary or lifestyle factors might account for the so-called “French paradox.” Studies suggest that resveratrol, a constituent of red wine, may help protect the French from the adverse health effects of their traditionally rich diet, while also protecting the liver against the toxic effects of alcohol.

Technically, resveratrol is a chemical known as trans-3,5,4’-trihydroxystilbene. Produced by grapes, berries, peanuts, and certain other plants in response to stressful conditions, resveratrol and related biochemicals known as phytoalexins function as natural antibiotics, protecting plants against attack by pathogens.

Life Extension recently discussed the French paradox with Milos Sovak, MD, founder of Biophysica, Inc., a California-based biomedical and pharmaceutical research company. According to Dr. Sovak, the hearty wines of southern France, produced from the Vitis vinifera vine, used to produce up to 30 mg of resveratrol per liter. This is no longer the case.

“The French who consumed up to 1 liter/day of wines originating in the South have had convincingly fewer cardiovascular afflictions than their brethren to the North,” says Dr. Sovak. “That situation is rapidly changing. With the advent of pesticides, plants are now producing almost no phytoalexins and it is rare today to find more than 2-3 mg of resveratrol per liter. That alone should be sufficient reason for supplementation with this compound regardless of the many studies—some reliable, some not—that show various advantages to red wine.”
Does Resveratrol Explain the 'French Paradox'?
Life Extension Foundation Magazine
March 2007, p.60

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