Wine molecule slows aging

Thursday, 22 April, 2004
Tony McKeever
Scientists drink to that
A molecule that is an active ingredient in red wine can slow the aging of human cells. It extends the life expectancy of every organism that, so far, has been fed on it, including yeast, worms, and fruit flies. Called resveratrol, the wonder substance seems to work in the same way as drastic calorie cutting.

Dramatic reduction of calories has been shown to increase the life span of mice, rats, and monkeys. Such diets are being tried in humans but results are not yet in. Severe dieting also cuts the risk of dying from cancer, heart problems, and other age-related diseases in monkeys.

If resveratrol and related molecules are found to work as well in humans, we could gain extra years of healthy life without starving for them. We could now sip our red wines, in moderation of course, with the knowledge that we can live longer with the pleasures that red wine gives us - Long live Vinetherapy!

'The discovery brings closer a time when a drug that extends life and prevents many diseases of aging becomes a reality,' says David Sinclair who leads the research at Harvard Medical School.  'I'm not a doctor so I can't speculate on how much wine to drink, but I've increased my consumption since we made the discovery.' Physicians recommend a glass or two of red wine a day as part of a heart-healthy diet. No one would advise nondrinkers to starting gulping red wine until better information about its anti-aging effect becomes available.

There are still many questions to be answered about how anti-aging molecules and severe calorie restriction work to extend life. Then there¹s the bigger question of whether they will work in humans. If the molecules allow us to live a longer, healthier life, producing them should be relatively easy and inexpensive. They could be purified from plants or made artificially in large amounts. 'Before that happens, many problems need to be solved,' Sinclair admits. 'And we will celebrate each new solution with a glass of red wine'.

South Africa developed the red wine cultivar Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage in 1924, as a world first and again in 2002 South Africa introduced a range of Vinetherapy cosmoceuticals and nutraceuticals, with concentrations of resveratrol, to the world market. This is hailed as South Africa's Miracle of Nature.

Issued by: The Renewal Centre
Contact: Tony McKeever