(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- For nearly 200 years, red wine has been touted for
its unmatched health benefits. It's been shown to do everything from preventing
cancer to protecting the heart and brain from damage to preventing age-related
disorders such as diabetes and inflammation. Now, researchers said they are
finally starting to scientifically explain these widespread benefits.
Red wide contains a complex mixture of compounds, but there's one superstar that
usually garners the most attention – resveratrol. Researchers said there may be
other compounds in nature that possess similar properties as resveratrol, but it
remains one of the most studied and most consumed compounds.
“I think that red wine has both some mystique and some historical symbolism in
the west, and of course, some various pleasures attached to its ingestion, all
of which give it a psychological advantage edge, food-wise,” said Stephen
Taylor, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology at Australia's University of
Queensland. “Not many of us can or will eat a couple of cups of blueberries a
day for years on end, but if we could do a population study for a decade or so
on such a group, you might actually see similar results.”
But as for resveratrol, study after study continues to confirm its role in
improving health and scientists said they are finally starting to understand not
only what it does but how it does it.
Taylor said in studying resveratrol, he's also learned an important lesson: the
compound is usually activated by the gut or liver before it reached the
bloodstream, where it exerts its effects; therefore, most of the resveratrol in
red wine does not reach the circulation.
“Interestingly, absorption via the mucous membranes in the mouth can result in
up to around 100 times the blood levels if done slowly rather than simply
gulping it down,” Taylor said. “Of course, we don't know if these things matter
yet, but issues like this are real and generally ignored by all.”
SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, September 2009