Drinking a small glass of red wine a day could help avoid age-related health problems like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, study finds
- Chemical compound called resveratrol is found in skin of grapes and red wine
- In small doses it mimics the hormone oestrogen and associated health benefits
- Imitating the hormone triggers production of key proteins called sirtuins
- These keep the body healthy and prevent development of age-related conditions
Having a small glass of red wine with dinner every night could help fend off age-related diseases, a study suggests.
The tipple is rich in a chemical called resveratrol which, in small doses, imitates oestrogen and triggers production of anti-ageing proteins called sirtuins.
Sirtuins help protect against diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
However, consuming too much of the compound, which is found in the skin of grapes, can have the opposite effect and increase risk.
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Red wine is rich in a chemical component called resveratrol which, in small doses, imitates oestrogen and triggers production of anti-ageing proteins called sirtuins. Sirtuins help protect against diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, the metabolic syndrome, inflammatory, Alzheimer’s and heart diseases (stock photo)
WHAT ARE THE UK GUIDELINES FOR ALCOHOL?
Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
One unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour.
A pint of strong lager contains 3 units of alcohol, whereas the same volume of low-strength lager has just over 2 units.
Some measurements include:
Single small shot of spirits (25ml, ABV 40 per cent) – one unit
Small glass of red/white/rosé wine (125ml, ABV 12 per cent)- 1.5 units
Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV five per cent) – 1.7 units
Can of lager/beer/cider (440ml, ABV 5.5 per cent) – two units
Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 5.2 per cent) – three units
Large glass of red/white/rosé wine (250ml, ABV 12 per cent) – three units
Use Alcohol Concern’s unit calculator to measure units.
Study author Dr Henry Bayele at University College London, told MailOnline these chemicals can be viewed as ‘plant oestrogens’ and may be beneficial to brain, liver, skeletal muscle and bone function.
‘Regular low doses of resveratrol, such as through moderate consumption of red wine as part of a healthy diet, may be able to provide the benefits of oestrogen,’ Dr Bayele said.
‘This would apply to both men and women of all ages, but post-menopausal women may feel these benefits the most because they have lower oestrogen reserves than men of a similar age,’ Dr Bayele said.
Oestrogen is perceived to be a female hormone but is present in both sexes and has a range of functions, including protecting against disease.
Resveratrol belongs to a group of chemicals which imitate the oestrogen pathway and stirs up the same response, helping the body protect itself.
A similar chemical, called isoliquiritigenin, has an even stronger impact and offers more protection. This compound is found in liquorice.
Research published in Scientific Reports details how the chemicals work in the body.
‘Numerous studies in animals have suggested these proteins could prolong healthy lifespan by preventing or slowing disease onset,’ says Dr Bayele.
‘But developing effective drugs or dietary interventions has been frustrated by a lack of a common understanding of how exactly they work in the body’s cells.’
Dr Bayele investigated how resveratrol and other sirtuins affected mice liver cells in a lab.
He discovered the chemicals hijack a receptor in cells which is normally used by oestradiol, one of the three major oestrogen hormones.
In low doses the effect of the red-wine chemical was exactly the same as it is for oestrogen, causing the same chain reaction in the cells.
However, in higher concentrations the compound works differently and suppresses the role of these receptors, inhibiting the response and quashing its health benefits.
Current oestrogen-replacement therapies can have adverse effects and using the chemicals found in red wine and liquorice could offer hope.
The chemicals keep the sirtuin proteins active which can prevent the onset of several metabolic and ageing-related diseases.
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