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Mechanism Behind Red Wine and Dark Chocolate’s Benefits Discovered

Update Date: Mar 09, 2013 02:00 PM EST

One glass of red wine a day can provide a long list of benefits, researchers believed based on previous studies. A recent study, however, suggests that in order to reap the full benefits of wine, one might have to drink a lot more than one glass. According to a study done by Harvard geneticists, David Sinclair, the compound, resveratrol found in red wine and dark chocolate, can help fight the signs of aging and disease. However, the amount in a recommended glass is not nearly enough.

Resveratrol has been known to slow down the effects of aging, combatting several diseases such as inflammatory diseases and osteoporosis. Ever since 2008, when the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline bought the rights to the technology behind this compound, the company has produced over 4,000 synthetic versions to study the effects of resveratrol. None of the drugs have finished trials yet or have been approved, and thus, the drugs are not considered to be safe to take. However, the company might be able to understand the compound better now that this study revealed the mechanisms behind resveratrol and its link to the body. Sinclair's study discovered the actual link between the body's proteins and resveratrol's role.

Sinclair and his research team found that there was a link between the enzymes call sirtuins, which are the proteins responsible for regenerating cells, and resveratrol. They found that resveratrol could trigger the production of SIRT1, which is a specific enzyme that is naturally produced through exercise and calorie restriction. Since resveratrol can replicate the same effects of exercise and diet, it can help the body get the benefits of exercise and diet without actually doing either. The effects of resveratrol on weight have not been found.

GlaxoSmithKline currently has three forms of synthetic resveratrol in trials. Each pill roughly contains 100 times the amount of resveratrol that is found in just one glass of wine. The pill will need to have a highly concentrated amount of resveratrol to have any beneficial effects on illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cardiac failure.

The researchers are optimistic that if resveratrol can be successfully manufactured, people can benefit greatly from what people are describing to be red wine in a pill. 

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