jamie goode's wine blog: Resveratrol: a wonder drug in wine

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Resveratrol: a wonder drug in wine

There have been a couple of recent scientific reports on resveratrol that have attracted a lot of interest. It's a phytoalexin that is found in grape skins (and thus wine). If it is fed to mice at reasonably high doses, it protects them from the negative effects of eating too much. It's quite dramatic: these mice can eat a high fat diet that would normally kill them pretty sharpish, but when they are given a stiff resveratrol chaser with their rations, they don't get fat, don't develop diabetes, and consequently don't keel over prematurely. It seems that resveratrol hits a particular metabolic switch, giving you the benefits of dieting and excercise without actually doing either.

As you can understand, this has got people pretty excited. As long as you drink a few glasses of resveratrol-rich wine, then you can carry on gorging yourself on fine French cuisine, and forget about pounding the pavements in an attempt to stem a bulging waistline and incipient type 2 diabetes. But wait a minute: the story isn't that simple.

I asked Professor Roger Corder, who has researched wine and health, for his views.
‘The resveratrol story has become a bit of a publicity stunt for those lacking knowledge in the field’, maintains Corder. ‘At a dose of 22.4 mg/kg per day (used in the recent mouse study reported in Nature) and typical resveratrol levels of 1–2 mg/litre in wine, the dose in human terms for wine would have to be around 1568 mg/day or 780–1560 litres per day’.

Also problematic is the bioavailability story. Data in humans are currently rather limited, although they are beginning to emerge. And they threaten to rain on the resveratrol parade. Professor Thomas Walle at the Medical University of South Carolina published a rather damning paper on this in 2004, in which he concluded that in humans very little dietary resveratrol gets to where it is needed in the body. ‘Based on our studies as well as those of others the bioavailability of resveratrol, that is the amount intact resveratrol reaching the blood circulation, is virtually zero in humans’, reports Walle.

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At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

And there I was so looking forward to my bottle of Teran (Refosco) from Friuli. Purely for medicinal reasons, of course! Apparently, it is so full of procyanidol that in the Caro/Karst region they prescribe it over the chemist's counter for digestive and liver problems. It can dissolve anything - even the oak in an Australian Chardonnay (just joking).

The French Paradox is nothing new.It's funny how wine has always been viewed as having therapeutic qualities. Pasteur described it as "healthful and hygienic" and an English doctor, Francis Anstie, of Westminster Hospital, wrote a detailed treatise in the 19th century about which illnesses should be treated with which wines. Dyspepsia was Burgundy (coincidentally high in antioxidants), port for anaemia and old sherry for typhoid. So if our Victorian sewers finally buckle the weight of infrastructural neglect, fish out that bottle of Bristol Cream from the cupboard that you've been hoarding on the offchance of a maiden aunt popping over, and inoculate yourself. If the typhoid doesn't get you, the cure will!

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

thanks for the comment Doug - it will be interesting to see whether there's ever a mechanism uncovered to explain the association of wine and health, or will it turn out to be a rather enjoyable placebo?

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anthony Tian said...


we are the leading manufacturer in China for Resveratrol. Our specification is range from 20% to 99% by HPLC.Also added services is available like capsules.

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At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment about red wine bioavailability of resveratrol in red wine (the "paper" referred to...) is about cancer inhibition not vascular relaxation. Now that does work have a look at the BBC 2 TV programme from 10 days ago called "don't die young". This actually shows vascular relaxation and lower peak blood pressure after drinking 2 x glasses of red wine. It also says the affect doesn't last the more you drink!

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At 12:19 AM, Anonymous herbal green tea said...

"in wine, the dose in human terms for wine would have to be around 1568 mg/day or 780–1560 litres per day"

We could drown to get the benefit of resveratrol.

At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Trevorz said...

Finally the media caught up the scientific studies of a drink I have been using for more than 7 years, if I am aloud to say the name it is symmetry direct genesis one of the highest standardized Resveratrol non-alcoholic drink. You can understand my excitement when I saw the media started to report their Resveratrol findings. Let’s hope more Doctors start looking in this direction. By the way I look and feel a lot younger than 47 and I intend to keep it that way. Note we will hear a lot more about the combination of Two Miracle Molecules: Ellagic Acid and Resveratrol.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Pete Hodgson-Kerry said...

Dr Phil Norrie of Pendarves REW has perfected a way of increasing the levels of resveratrol in his wines ... the site makes interesting reading as a lot of his explanations and findings are available to view

At 12:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many Resveratrol Supplements out there, its difficult to choose which one is the best, but from personal experience, i go with Biotivia as they have Consumer Lab validated products - Transmax being my favourite! I have so much more energy and sprite once again!


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