Red Wine Makes a Better Life, at Least in Mice: Study

Scientists have confirmed what many people have known for years – that drinking red wine leads to a better life, even if that life is not necessarily longer.

A study by the US National Institute of Aging reveals that resveratrol, an anti-oxidant found in red wine, slows age-related deterioration in the heart, bones and eyes of mice fed an otherwise normal diet.

However, it was not found to increase longevity when started at middle age.

The study is a follow-up to research in 2006 that found that resveratrol, found naturally in foods like grapes and nuts, improved the health and increased the life expectancy of overweight, older mice.

The latest results confirm previous studies suggesting that, in mice at least, the compound mimics the effects of calorie reduction, the most effective way found to date to minimize the effects of aging on mammals.

The researchers say the study, which appeared in the July 3 edition of Cell Metabolism, is likely to increase interest in resveratrol as a potential treatment against aging.

But they stress that their research is based only on mice and has “no immediate and direct application to people, whose health is influenced by a variety of factors beyond those which may be represented in the animal models.”

The NIA team compared several groups of mice – one group was fed normally, one given a calorie-rich diet and another fed once every two days. Certain mice among the three groups were given a dose, strong or weak, of resveratrol.

“Resveratrol has produced significant effects in animal models, now including mice, where it mimics some, but not all, consequences of caloric restriction,” said NIA director Richard Hodes.

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