Monday, August 25, 2003

Resveratrol (Red Wine), Olive Oil (Favones) -- medicine doesn't get any better than this.

Ok, we'll hear far more about this soon. A few points of interest.

1. Rx qSupper: A glass of New York or Burgundy Pinot Noir along with bread dipped in fine (flavone rich) Olive Oil. Ahhh. I can't think of a more enjoyable form of medication.

2. Air exposure seems to destroy the Resveratrol. This is a nuisance, most of us aren't going to drink a bottle a day! I don't know if the inert gas preservatives help. Probably cheap, highly stressed New York Pinot Noir in a plastic bag dispenser might work best. :-)

3. Resveratrol is produced by wine in response to stress, it keeps the grape alive in stressful conditions. Sounds a lot like its putative function in animals. Does this mean that its fundamental function predates the division between plants and animals, or between chloroplasts and mitochondria? Do bacteria produce resveratrol in response to environmental stress? (Resveratrol, oddly enough, has been thought to be used as antifungal agent by grapes.)

4. Does this remind one of Woody Allan's Sleeper? (The sleeper awakes to learn that steak and cigarettes are healthy.)

5. Would bottled grape juice (European style) work as well? (And be less problematic?)

6. What if Gallic "superiority" is not merely a cultural trait, but rather a side-effect of Resveratrol? Well, that's only a problem for other people ...

Study Spurs Hope of Finding Way to Increase Human Life

... So far Dr. Sinclair and his colleagues have shown only that resveratrol, the chemical found in red wine, prolongs life span in yeast, a fungus, by 70 percent. But a colleague, Dr. Mark Tatar of Brown University, has shown, in a report yet to be published, that the compound has similar effects in fruit flies. The National Institute of Aging, which sponsored Dr. Sinclair's research, plans to start a mouse study later in the year.

... Resveratrol, ... is unstable on exposure to the air and "goes off within a day of popping the cork."

... Resveratrol is synthesized by plants in response to stress like lack of nutrients and fungal infection. It exists in the skin of both red and white grapes but is found in amounts 10 times as high in red wine as in white because of the different manufacturing process.

According to "The Oxford Companion to Wine," pinot noir tends to have high levels of the chemical, cabernet sauvignon lower levels. "Wines produced in cooler regions or areas with greater disease pressure such as Burgundy and New York often have more resveratrol," the book says, whereas wines from drier climates like California or Australia have less.

Besides resveratrol, another class of chemical found to mimic caloric restriction is that of the flavones, found abundantly in olive oil, Dr. Howitz said.

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