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Red wine against Alzheimer disease

23 February 2011, by Sebastian Nickel

Professor Peter M. Tessier and his team from the Rensslear Polytechnic Institut of Troy, New York, have discovered another property of the famous resveratrol molecule found in wine, which might be beneficial to our health. Resveratrol is found in many fruits, like for example cacao, peanuts or blackberries, and last but not least in skins of grapes. The quantity of resveratrol in the skins depends on many factors, like colour (red grape varieties contain more resveratrol than white ones), geographical origin, the winemaking procedure, or the occurrence of wine diseases in the vineyards. Indeed, resveratrol makes part of the sophisticated molecular defence mechanism of vines against fungal attack, like for example mildew.

Since Frankel et al. described in 1993 that resveratrol averts the oxidation of LDL in our blood (oxidation of LDL cholesterol enhances arteriosclerosis), resveratrol has been frequently been associated to the so called French Paradox, which describes the fact that regular wine consumption may lower the risk of heart attack. Ever since, the list of beneficial health effects found for resveratrol continually grows; the “magic” molecule seems to promote angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels), inhibit inflammation, maintain bone density, reduce body fat percentage, decelerate cell ageing, a.s.o.…

Resveratrol @ VinParleurProfessor Tessier and his team published the promising results of their research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in May 2010. They demonstrated, that resveratrol found in wine could play an important role against degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer. Apparently the plant molecule identifies and inactivates certain toxic peptides (small proteins) that play a role in degenerative brain diseases, showing a remarkable capacity to distinguish between “good” and “bad” peptides.

Although further research may be necessary to determine if and how the consumption of wine really lowers the risk of Alzheimer disease, this might be another reason not to forget a good glass of wine to enrich your meals…

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