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Showing posts from June, 2010

Drink to your health: The wine-medical research connection

As I discovered in researching my book Age Gets Better with Wine, from ancient times it has been wed to health care and healthy living. In modern times, wine has come to support medical research more directly, through charity auctions and direct funding. Credit the granddaddy of them all, the Hospices de Beaune, for showing the way. But some wineries are taking it a step further.


A few years ago I had the singular pleasure of attending the Staglin festival, which raises money for mental health research. What a glorious experience! All the top wineries in Napa participate, and although we had more wine that day than was strictly necessary for medical purposes, it was definitely a boon to my state of mind. Congrats to the Staglin family for raising awareness of an issue that many find uncomfortable and which suffers from a lack of research funding as a result. (The event is held every September, info on the Staglin website.)

Ehlers Estate is another winery that ties its profits directly…

Wine and colon health: More than a gut feeling

The status of your intestinal tract may not be the sexiest of topics, but for those with problems such as inflammatory bowel disease it is of overriding importance. Whether or not you have a life-changing inflammatory disease, colon health deserves to be taken seriously - at least seriously enough to consider how wine and resveratrol fit in. It’s more good news, as you will have come to expect.


Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic, relapsing, tissue-destructive disorder for which there is no definitive cure. Patients typically undergo multiple surgeries and are on medication most of the time. It is also a difficult thing to study, but there is a model in mice in which the condition can be created by giving them a toxic compound called DSS. Various treatments can then be tested and markers of inflammation measured.

A series of recent reports indicate that resveratrol and other wine polyphenols (again resveratrol shouldn’t get all the credit) can be quite helpful. Using resveratrol i…

Exercise your red wine habit for healthy aging

It seems there is no end to the list of benefits to red wine. One of the more interesting facets being explored is the question of how red wine compounds might work synergistically with other anti-aging behaviors to amplify the effect. We all know, for instance, that regular exercise is an important part of slowing down the aging process, but who would think of having a tipple before hitting the weight room? It’s not such a far-fetched idea according to some recent studies.


Exercise, like most things that are good for us, must also be taken in moderation; too much and the overstressed muscles start releasing lactic acid and other deleterious compounds. With age the problem becomes worse, resulting in more oxidative stress which counteracts the benefits of working out in the first place! A study comparing oxidative stress in young vs old mice given resveratrol showed how this wine extract helps protect against these changes. Using several serum markers for oxidative stress, a group fro…