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Red Wine Compound May Slow Aging

April 6, 2017 — The health benefits of red wine continue to make news.  The latest finding suggests that resveratrol, the antioxidant found in grape skins, may slow the ageing process.

The study conducted at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, shows resveratrol preserves muscle fibers as we age and helps protect connections between neurons called synapses from the negative effects of ageing.

Scientists studied two-year-old mice — generally considered “old” — that were treated with resveratrol for one year, paying particular attention to synapses called neuromuscular junctions. These synapses are essential for voluntary movement because they relay motor commands that flow from neurons in the spinal cord to muscles.

However, the mice were given doses of resveratrol much larger than the amount in red wine which is relatively low, so red wine drinkers cannot expect the same massive neuroprotective benefits. Gregorio Valdez, PhD, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute cautioned against anyone blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.  The next step for the researchers is to identify the mechanism that enables resveratrol to protect synapses.

“We all slow down as we get older,” said Dr. Valdez. “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 ageing. I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits.”

The study was published in “The Journals of Gerontology, Series A:  Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences”.