Did You Know Drinking Wine Can Prevent Aging? The key lies in the Miraculous Resveratrol

ResveratrolDrinking wine can actually prevent aging and even increase your lifespan. No, I am not making up a story. Wine contains a magic molecule which is believed to possess the power of increasing your lifespan. This magic molecule is called by the tongue twister of a name, Resveratrol. In fact, the action of resveratrol is considered to be the reason of the French Paradox phenomenon.

According to this phenomenon, the French who consume more fat and alcohol per head than any other country, show the least number of incidences of heart attack and cancer. This phenomenon is maximally observed in Gascony where the Gascons consumes the highest amount of fat and alcohol. One of the main reasons for this is the presence of resveratrol in the red skin and grape seeds of grapes, from where wine is obtained following fermentation.

Resveratrol is a natural metabolite in plants, where it serves a very useful function in plant defence responses. It belongs to the class defence molecules called phytoalexins and is involved in the signal transduction pathway. It belongs to the class of molecules called polyphenols and is a stilbenoid. Its scientific name is 3,5,4’-trihydroxystilbene.

Resveratrol can be obtained from the red skin of grapes as well as in the roots of the Japanese knotweed plant and has been synthesised through both chemical and biotechnological approaches.

Resveratrol was first identified from a plant Polygonum in 1939 by a Japanese scientist. The first discovery in grape vine leaves was made in 1976 by Dr Langcake and Dr Pryce.

Some Benefits of Resveratrol?

Anti-aging:

Many research studies have highlighted the significant role of this molecule in anti aging. Studies between 2003-2007 identified the molecule in increasing the lifespan in a range of organisms ranging from yeast to Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila, to fish. It is implicated in playing a significant role in anti aging activities such as telomere lengthening, activation of the telomerase enzyme, has anti inflammatory and anti –diabetic effects and confers protection to Ultra violet radiation, amongst its other effects.

Cancer Defence:

There is strong evidence which pronounces its significant role in cancer defence and beneficial effects in cancer patients.

ResveratrolCognitive Improvement: 

It has also been shown that resveratrol can play an important part in boosting mental function, if the diet is enriched with doses of it and it has been noted to improve cognitive function along with a related molecule philostilbene.

No Side Effects:

The great thing about resveratrol is that neither any symptoms associated with its deficiency nor with its over use or toxic symptoms have been noted. People who are subjected to higher levels of stress as compared to others, can therefore safely take this.

Resveratrol’s popularity lies in its anti aging as well as anti oxidant functions where it prevents free radicals produced during metabolic reactions from going out of control and thus helps in reducing aging.

Why Wine? Can’t I Just Take Grape Juice for Resveratrol?

Fermented grapes contain high amount of resveratrol as compared to the non fermented grapes. This is because the active form of resveratrol, which has the anti aging activity is the trans form, and that accumulates and remains stable, when grapes are protected and kept away from sunlight, oxygen and heat.

What Exactly Does Resveratrol Do?

Molecular biology and biochemical studies have shown that resveratrol belongs to a group of molecules called STACs ( Sirtuin Activating Compounds) These STACS play a role in the activation of the SIRT gene products, which are involved in control of the cellular metabolic pathways including the anti aging pathway and are involved in the regulation of activities related to longetivity and function.

Resveratrol Decoded- for the Scientists Among Us

ResveratrolSIRTs are responsible for controlling the expression of certain proteins through acetylating activities. Resveratrol, a STAC, is believed to regulate the expression of the SIRT1 gene.  Trans Resveratrol, increases the total energy level by increasing the number of mitochondria, thus allowing increased efficiency of respiration, providing more energy and smoother biological cellular functioning.

In addition, treatment of cells with resveratrol, has been found to increase the activity of Superoxide Dismutase, which is responsible for controlling the levels of Superoxide ions. By itself, the superoxide ion is not very harmful but it can initiate free radical reactions which can be extremely dangerous to the stability of the cell. Activation of SOD allows the breakdown of superoxide ions to hydrogen peroxide, which though toxic, is quickly used up. Thus, Resveratrol, helps in preventing mitochondrial dysfunction as well as activation of apoptotic death cascade.

In addition, resveratrol has been associated with interfering in carcinogenesis and it interferes with all three stages of carcinogenesis i.e. initiation, promotion and progression. It may does by several mechanisms including control of the activity of the transcription factor NF-kB, inhibitio of the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme CYP1A1, making changes in the actions of cyclooxygenase enzymes and it has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cell lines. Studies in 2008 involving Harvard Medical School and other world universities had confirmed about the multiple health benefits of reveratrol as well as its anti cancer effects. Another study by Memorial Sloan Kettering also showed how resveratrol can slow down the inflammatory action of enzymes such as COX and turns it off, which activity is a precursor to cancer.

The molecule is so widespread in its effects , it can almost be considered as a superman of the living system. It is also believed to prevent neuronal cell death and cell dysfunction

So, don’t think twice when you see that glass of red wine in front of you. Latch on to it and gulp it!!

Image Source:

Corbis Images

Public domain Wikimedia commons

References:

http://www.reserveage.com/what-is-resveratrol-what-is-trans-resveratrol-pg-41.html

http://www.news-medical.net/health/Resveratrol-What-is-Resveratrol.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/02/anti-aging-is-resveratrol-the-magic-bullet_n_3534925.html

http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/march2013/03252013resveratrol.htm

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/resveratrol-does-provide-anti-aging-benefits-study-shows

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/01/news/la-heb-resveratrol-20120501

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