Do Flavonoids in Red Wine Help Us Live Longer?

We’d all like an elixir that makes us live a long, healthy life. And if that elixir were red wine…all the better! However (of course there’s a however), although red wine might have some potential health benefits, it’s far from being a cure-all. While red wine is more closely linked to health benefits than other types of alcohol, experts suggest that it should still be consumed with caution.1


Westend61 / Getty Images

In an effort to understand the “French Paradox'” (why French people can indulge in fatty foods but not develop heart disease), red wine came into focus in 1991 on an episode of “60 Minutes.” To test whether red wine could have a protective health effect, researchers have been feeding components of red wine to mice and other animals in an attempt to understand the full health benefits.2



Here’s what we know about red wine and health.

Resveratrol: The Important Flavonoid in Red Wine

Red wine is high in flavonoids (also described as polyphenols), which are a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent certain molecules, known as free radicals, from damaging cells. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in wine.3 It’s also found in some other plant foods, including apples, blueberries, plums, and peanuts.

Research has credited resveratrol with possible protective effects against a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.4



Resveratrol’s Role in Anti-Aging

According to research, resveratrol has several biochemical effects that may work to prevent disease. Mechanisms of resveratrol action include:5



  1. It activates the longevity-related protein sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)
  2. It helps to improve insulin sensitivity
  3. It improves the function of the mitochondria, which are tiny components of all cells that are altered with aging and disease

Red Wine vs. Calorie Restriction

Calorie restriction plays a complex role in longevity. In part, that’s because calorie restriction can activate nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a protein that may spur the “longevity genes” SIRT1 and SIRT2. Resveratrol seems to act along the same pathways and it has been shown to mimic the effect of caloric restriction on the cells and lifespans of yeast, fruit flies, and mice in a laboratory setting.6



Resveratrol Supplements

If you don’t drink wine, you might be wondering if you should be taking resveratrol supplements as a way to gain the benefits that you have been hearing about. At the current time, experts are not recommending that approach. Overall, despite the results of laboratory studies that point to the benefits of resveratrol, it is still not completely clear whether a specific dose would be effective for fighting disease or whether taking supplements would help prevent illness in humans.7



A Word From Verywell

If you drink wine or any other alcohol, you should do so in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink a day for women and two for men.8



If you drink more than the recommendations for “moderate” drinking, those potential health benefits get canceled out by the health risks associated with a high consumption of alcohol.3



If you don’t currently drink alcohol, there is no need to start! There are many factors that play into your health—and a good diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices are still likely more beneficial for you than a glass of wine.

Article Sources:

  1. Liberale L, Bonaventura A, Montecucco F, Dallegri F, Carbone F. Impact of red wine consumption on cardiovascular health. Curr Med Chem. 2019;26(19):3542-3566. doi:10.2174/0929867324666170518100606

  2. Catalgol B, Batirel S, Taga Y, Ozer NK. Resveratrol: French paradox revisited. Front Pharmacol. 2012;3:141. doi:10.3389/fphar.2012.00141

  3. Snopek L, Mlcek J, Sochorova L, et al. Contribution of red wine consumption to human health protection. Molecules. 2018;23(7). doi:10.3390/molecules23071684

  4. Rauf A, Imran M, Suleria HAR, Ahmad B, Peters DG, Mubarak MS. A comprehensive review of the health perspectives of resveratrol. Food Funct. 2017;8(12):4284-4305. doi:10.1039/c7fo01300k

  5. Park SJ, Ahmad F, Philp A, et al. Resveratrol ameliorates aging-related metabolic phenotypes by inhibiting cAMP phosphodiesterases. Cell. 2012;148(3):421-33. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.01.017

  6. Testa G, Biasi F, Poli G, Chiarpotto E. Calorie restriction and dietary restriction mimetics: a strategy for improving healthy aging and longevity. Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(18):2950-77. doi:10.2174/13816128113196660699

  7. Ponzo V, Soldati L, Bo S. Resveratrol: a supplementation for men or for mice?. J Transl Med. 2014;12:158. doi:10.1186/1479-5876-12-158

  8. Vidavalur R, Otani H, Singal PK, Maulik N. Significance of wine and resveratrol in cardiovascular disease: French paradox revisited. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2006;11(3):217–225.


Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.verywellhealth.com by Mark Stibich, Ph.D. where all credits are due. Medically reviewed by Jason DelCollo, DO.

Disclaimer

The watching, interacting, and participation of any kind with anything on this page does not constitute or initiate a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Farrah™. None of the statements here have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The products of Dr. Farrah™ are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information being provided should only be considered for education and entertainment purposes only. If you feel that anything you see or hear may be of value to you on this page or on any other medium of any kind associated with, showing, or quoting anything relating to Dr. Farrah™ in any way at any time, you are encouraged to and agree to consult with a licensed healthcare professional in your area to discuss it. If you feel that you’re having a healthcare emergency, seek medical attention immediately. The views expressed here are simply either the views and opinions of Dr. Farrah™ or others appearing and are protected under the first amendment.

Dr. Farrah™ is a highly experienced Licensed Medical Doctor certified in evidence-based clinical nutrition, not some enthusiast, formulator, or medium promoting the wild and unrestrained use of nutrition products for health issues without clinical experience and scientific evidence of therapeutic benefit. Dr. Farrah™ has personally and keenly studied everything she recommends, and more importantly, she’s closely observed the reactions and results in a clinical setting countless times over the course of her career involving the treatment of over 150,000 patients.

Dr. Farrah™ promotes evidence-based natural approaches to health, which means integrating her individual scientific and clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise, I refer to the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.

Dr. Farrah™ does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of any multimedia content provided. Dr. Farrah™ does not warrant the performance, effectiveness, or applicability of any sites listed, linked, or referenced to, in, or by any multimedia content.

To be clear, the multimedia content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any website, video, image, or media of any kind.
Dr. Farrah™ hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.