We’ve long heard the superpowers of a glass or two of red wine—in fact, resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, has been has been lauded for everything from its anti-aging benefits to its promises to protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Well, I’ve got bad news and more bad news. First up, a new study found that the supposed benefits of red wine may have been overstated. In fact, the research found that long-praised antioxidant resveratrol showed no significant decrease in heart disease, cancer or death. And the more bad news? That research applies to the purported benefits of dark chocolate too. Well, there goes my dinner.
“The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time,” lead researcher Richard D. Semba, M.D., M.P.H., said in JAMA Internal Medicine. For the study, researchers analyzed urine samples from 783 people over the age of 65 for metabolites of resveratrol. Accounting for factors like age and gender, those with high concentration of resveratrol were no less likely to have died of any cause than those with no resveratrol found in their urine. The concentration of resveratrol was not associated with inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease, or cancer rates.
But not all hope is lost…though they’ve ruled out resveratrol as the magic ingredient, your merlot and Godiva might still be good for you for different reasons. “It’s just that the benefits, if they are there, must come from other polyphenols or substances found in those foodstuffs,” Semba says. “These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol.” Looks like there’s not much to do but wait until scientists figure out more…that said, I’ll be doing my waiting with a glass of red wine, just in case.