Scientists have discovered that a compound found in red wine has the power to prevent our brain from aging!
A substance found in red wine, also known as resveratrol, keeps the brain young in a similar way that low-calorie dieting and exercising does, researchers have discovered.
For those, who have never come across the term before, resveratrol is a polyphonic antioxidant that is produced by certain plants and found in similar foods that have the effect to slow down the aging process.
It is one of the main components in different types of food such as dark berries, raw cocoa, pistachios, and peanuts.
However, the highest source of resveratrol can be found in the skin of grapes which are later fermented into a bottle of red wine and according to researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute this natural component helps protect the connections between the motor neurons and the brain.
In a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Dr. Greg Valdez and his team of researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute showed how resveratrol keeps muscle fibers intact by preserving synapses called neuromuscular junctions ( the contact between a motor neuron and a muscle fiber) and therefore slowing down our ageing process.
“We all slow down as we get older,” said Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
“Gait, balance issues, and impaired motor coordination contribute to health problems, accidents, lack of mobility, and a lower quality of life. We work on identifying molecular changes that slow down motor deficits that occur with aging.”
The team of scientists investigated the effect resveratrol has on elderly mice. They studied and examined 2year old mice – which are generally considered to be “old” since their average lifespan is approximately 24 months.
The mice were treated with certain amounts of resveratrol as well as metformin (diabetic drug) for 1 year while a specific attention was paid to their neuromuscular junctions throughout the same period of time.
The results were shocking.
Mice who had been given resveratrol had more youthful neuromuscular junction than those who had not. The research showed that a simple, naturally occurring molecule well known as a chemical component of red wine, had the power to preserve the synapses which relay movement signals from the brain to the muscles.
Furthermore, Dr. Valdez and his team also tested the effect of the diabetes drug metformin on the neuromuscular junctions in the mice’s brain and found out that while the drug slowed down the rate of muscle fiber aging, it did little to affect the aging of neuromuscular junctions.
“I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits,” said the study’s primary author, assistant professor Gregorio Valdez.
In addition, except extending our lifespan, resveratrol goes much further and helps protect the cardiovascular system, the brain functioning, the cognitive/mental health as well as helps in preventing obesity and diabetes diseases.
However, at the risk of disappointing all the wine lovers, besides the fact that the highest concentration of resveratrol is to be found in red wine as well as raw cocoa, a diet including a high dosage of both might be delightful, but very unhealthy if you overdo it.
“In wine, resveratrol is in such small amounts you could not drink enough of it in your life to have the benefits we found in mice given resveratrol,” said Dr. Valdez.
“These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.”
Well wine drinkers, there you have it. Poppin’ the cork once in a while and indulging in a glass of fine red wine can be nourishing and quite charming, just try not to make it your long-lasting addiction. Cheers!