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Want to remain healthy? Drink red wine!

india Updated: Nov 02, 2006 17:10 IST
Highlight Story

It may soon be time to throw out all those anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams straight out of the window, for it seems that all it takes to hold back the effects of ageing is a compound found in red wine, a new study has found.

In a study on a mouse model, researchers found that grapes, peanuts and mulberries contain a compound called resveratrol which, when given to overweight mice, helped them to not only live a substantially longer life, but also led to them having healthier hearts and livers, as well as improving insulin sensitivity.

The team states that the compound works by boosting the activity of sirtuins — proteins that boffins believe defend cells against damage and illness associated with old age.

When sirtuins become activated, they start altering glucose and insulin production, fat metabolism and cell survival. Resveratrol boosts this mechanism.

Though previous studies have shown that resveratrol can extend the lifespan of fruit flies and worms by almost 30 per cent and fish by nearly 60 per cent.

This was the first time however; that such a study was conducted on a mammal, leading researchers to start clinical trials on a pill based on the compound to see whether or not it can extend life and stave off age-related disease in humans.

Dr David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the researchers, said that the results of the study showed positive clinical indicators for a pill for humans.

"The striking thing is this molecule has extended the lives of every laboratory organism we have fed it to. The healthspan benefits we saw in the obese mice treated with resveratrol, such as increased insulin sensitivity, decreased glucose levels, healthier heart and liver tissues, are positive clinical indicators,” Nature quoted him, saying.

Dr Sinclair added that as mice were closer evolutionarily to humans, boffins were hopeful that the compound would have many beneficial effects on humans.

"Mice are much closer evolutionarily to humans than any previous model organism treated by this molecule, which offers hope that similar impacts might be seen in humans without negative side-effects. They may mean we can stave off in humans age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, but only time and more research will tell," he said.

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