Red, Red Wine: A Balance Enhancer?

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, a substance found in red wine could help prevent mobility issues and reduce the risk of life-threatening falls amongst senior citizens, researchers announced during a meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that took place in August of 2012.

Lead researcher Dr. Jane E. Cavanaugh of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and colleagues say that resveratrol, a molecule found in the alcoholic beverage, could help older Americans live safer, more productive lives. Their research was based on studies involving laboratory mice, the ACS said in a prepared statement.

To determine resveratrol’s effects on balance and mobility, Cavanaugh and colleagues fed young and old laboratory mice a diet containing resveratrol for eight weeks. They periodically tested the rodents’ ability to navigate a steel mesh balance beam, counting the number of times that each mouse took a misstep. Initially, the older mice had more difficulty maneuvering on the obstacle. But by week four, the older mice made far fewer missteps and were on par with the young mice.

But before you go running to the liquor store, Dr. Cavanaugh noted that resveratrol is poorly absorbed by the human body.  She calculated that a 150-pound person would have to drink almost 700 4-ounce glasses of red wine a day to absorb enough resveratrol to get any beneficial effects.  As a result, the researchers are investigating synthetic substances that would mimic the effects of resveratrol in wine.  But the study’s researchers noted that even if resveratrol’s effect on the brain is minimal at best, “this small margin could potentially be enough to help older people remain steady on their feet and avoid taking serious tumbles,” according to the press release.

Remember that moderate red wine consumption has already been associated with good heart health and inhibiting the spread of a number of human cancer lines, such as breast, thyroid, prostate, colon, and stomach cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State, which studies micronutrients.

Our own research revealed that wine is a Suddenly Solo woman’s preferred alcoholic drink.  Can this be a case of something we enjoy actually being good for us?  Let’s have a glass of red wine now before the next study disproving it comes out! Cheers!


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