An ingredient in red wine, resveratrol, can — based on experiments done in rats, mind you — negate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle according a new study. Resveratrol is the so-called “healthy” ingredient in red wine and, notes CBS, can help to lower “bad” cholesterol, as well as protect the lining of heart vessels.
The study in question was specifically looking at the adverse effects of weightlessness in space on astronauts, whose health suffers from not being able to engage in physical activity at zero gravity, with resulting losses in muscle and bone mass.
I know, so far this study seems to be only about rats and astronauts.
Here’s CBS‘s description of how research for the study was carried out:
.. scientists mimicked the inactivity astronauts experience by hanging rats by their back legs. Half the rats received a daily dose of resveratrol, and half did not. What happened? The rats not given resveratrol experienced reduced muscle mass and strength and bone density, and developed insulin resistance – which is considered a prelude to diabetes. The ones that took resveratol didn’t experience any of these negative health effects
How does it work? Weissman told CBS News that resveratrol “flips a switch” for cell metabolism that let’s the cells “breath internally” – counteracting the detrimental effects inactivity has on the body’s cells. In any case, there are about 200 studies that “show resveratrol has terrific effects on cells,” Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal where the study was published, told CBS News.
The study was published in FASEB, the journal of the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Granted, before taking this study’s findings with more than a grain of salt (along with a glass of wine), it would be well to see what the results are when the effects of resveratrol are studied on humans. We can’t, of course, hang humans in the (inhumane) way the rats in the study were. Also, as Weissman points out, actual physical exercise (beyond picking up a glass and tipping it) is preferable, plus you’d have to drink more than two glasses of wine to get the effects found in the study (at which point being “sedentary” might be just as well for some of us).
For those temporarily unable to be physically active, resveratol might “slow deterioration until someone can get moving again.” Or as Weissmann puts it more poetically with a reference to the astronauts in a press release:
“If resveratrol supplements are not your cup of tea then there’s good news. You can find it naturally in red wine, making it the toast of the Milky Way.”
Or, to refer to those who were actually involved in the study’s research, the toast of the rat’s nest?
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