Study boosts wine chemical hopes

A chemical derived from red wine could one day help keep the heart "genetically young", claim researchers.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found that resveratrol appeared to halt age-related changes in the function of heart genes. The effects, described in the PLOS One journal, appeared to mimic those produced by eating a very low calorie diet - known to prolong life. But an expert said drinking wine would not achieve the effect.

Resveratrol, a plant polyphenol found in red wine, grapes and pomegranates, has been suggested as one of the reasons for the so-called "French paradox" - the relative longevity of the French despite a diet rich in artery-clogging animal fats. It has been suggested that the traditional glass of red wine taken at mealtimes was helping beat heart disease.

The Wisconsin researchers the chemical on "middle-aged" mice, looking at the effects on the workings of genes in the heart. The natural ageing process in animals and humans is marked by changes in the function, or expression, of thousands of genes in the organ, and even though the precise consequences of all these changes in gene expression is not fully understood, they are thought to contribute to its gradual overall weakening. The mice on resveratrol appeared to have fewer changes in gene expression over time compared with those who did not.

Source - BBC

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