You have surely heard of the numerous beneficial properties of red wine and dark chocolate, and researchers maintain that they are due to the presence of a natural chemical called resveratrol.
This polyphenic bioflavonoid antioxidant is classified as a phytoestrogen since it is capable of interacting with estrogen receptors in a positive way.
Red wine is the best source of resveratrol source, as its most naturally abundant sources are plants, including the skin of red grapes, dark berries, red wine, and raw cocoa.
The journal BMC Cell Biology published a study which found that chemicals similar to resveratrol can be used to rejuvenate old cells. The team of researchers was led by Lorna Harries, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Exeter. The first author of the paper is Dr. Eva Latorre, a research associate at the same university.
The study used findings from previous research conducted at the university, which indicate that as we grow old, so-called splicing factors, which are protein types, become inactive. The addition of “resveralogues” to aging human cells reactivated them, and despite the cells appearing younger, this even made old cells dividing again.
According to Dr. Latorre:
“When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn’t believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic. I repeated the experiments several times and in each case, the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential of this research.”
The process of mRNA splicing was explained by Prof.Harries:
“The information in our genes is carried [in] our DNA. Every cell in the body carries the same genes, but not every gene is switched on in every cell. That’s one of the things that makes a kidney cell a kidney cell and heart cell a heart cell.
When a gene is needed, it is switched on and [makes] an initial message called an RNA, that contains the instructions for whatever the gene makes. The interesting thing is that most genes can make more than one message.”
“The initial message is made up of building blocks that can be kept in or left out to make different messages. This] inclusion or removal of the building blocks is done by a process called mRNA splicing, whereby the different blocks are joined together as necessary. It’s a bit like a recipe book, where you can make either a vanilla sponge or a chocolate cake, depending on whether or not you add chocolate!
We have previously found that the proteins that make the decision as to whether a block is left in our taken out (these are called splicing factors) are the ones that change most as we age.”
According to Prof. Harries, this opens a huge possibility for seniors to enjoy their health longer in life:
“The findings demonstrate that when you treat old cells with molecules that restore the levels of the splicing factors, the cells regain some features of youth. They are able to grow, and their telomeres — the caps on the ends of the chromosomes that shorten as we age — are now longer, as they are in young cells.”
“We were quite surprised by the magnitude of the findings. This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life. “
Also, according to the co-author of the study, Prof. Richard Faragher, of the University of Brighton:
“At a time when our capacity to translate new knowledge about the mechanisms of aging into medicines and lifestyle advice is limited only by a chronic shortage of funds, older people are ill-served by self-indulgent science fiction. They need practical action to restore their health and they need it yesterday.”
Prof. Harries also spoke about their future plans:
“We are now trying to see if we can find out how the changes in splicing factor levels cause cell rescue. We have more papers in preparation on this so watch this space!”
Furthermore, Harvard Medical School has also confirmed the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol found in red wine. Science published the findings of this study, which indicate that resveratrol stimulates the production of SIRT1, a serum that blocks diseases by accelerating the cell’s energy production centers known as mitochondria.
Researchers also figured out which gene allows resveratrol to produce SIRT1, and maintain that some drugs currently in clinical trials might also show a capability of providing the same anti-aging benefits as well.
According to the senior author David Sinclair, Harvard Medical School professor of genetics:
“In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that binds to a protein to make it run faster in the way that resveratrol activates SIRT1. Almost all drugs either slow or block them.”
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that prevents damage due to free radicals. The Department of Pharmacology at the University of Seville in Spain published a study which found that:
“One of the most striking biological activities of resveratrol soundly investigated during the late years has been its cancer-chemopreventive potential. In fact, recently it has been demonstrated that it blocks the multistep process of carcinogenesis at various stages: tumor initiation, promotion, and progression.”
Dr. Axe speaks about the impressive properties of resveratrol as well:
“Resveratrol is particularly unique as its antioxidants can cross the blood-brain barrier to protect the brain and the nervous system, unlike other antioxidants. Recent studies done by researchers at the Nutrition Research Center at Northumbria University in the U.K. showed that resveratrol noticeably increased blood flow to the brain, suggesting a considerable benefit to healthy brain function and neuroprotective effects.
This means consuming more can increase protection against cognitive/mental problems, including Alzheimer’s, dementia and others. “
Research has also shown that resveratrol can prevent diabetes, prediabetes, and obesity, help digestion, and energize the body. Red wine offers countless other health benefits, and its consumption, according to Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, is linked to:
Reduced risk of dementia: Drinking 1–3 glasses of wine per day has been linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Reduced risk of depression: A study of middle-aged and elderly people showed that those who drank 2–7 glasses of wine per week were less likely to become depressed
Reduced insulin resistance: Drinking 2 glasses per day of regular or dealcoholized red wine for 4 weeks may reduce insulin resistance
On the other hand, despite the high amounts of soluble fiber and minerals, a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
and high amounts of plenty of zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium.
Therefore, its consumption boosts health in numerous other ways as well:
- It lowers blood pressure
- Improves blood flow
- Raises HDL and protects LDL from oxidation
- Lowers the heart disease risk
- Protects the skin from sun damage
- Boosts the function of the brain
Can it get much better?
We can now enjoy the incredible taste of red wine and dark chocolate and feel the way they rejuvenate our body!