Recent research has found additional health benefits to having a glass of wine a day. The healthy ingredient known as resveratrol, which can be found in red wine, may actually help to counteract the negative effects of high fat and high sugar diets. The compound can also be found in blueberries, raspberries and grape skins.
Associate professor at Georgetown University, Dr. J.P. Hyatt and his research team, were studying the effects of resveratrol on rhesus monkeys. They hypothesized that a supplement of resveratrol would greatly limit the negative effects of poor diet (excess fat, sugar) on the hind leg muscles of the apes. The compound had already shown up in previous studies in which it actually increased the lifespan of mice and slowed the progression of diabetes. In a second study, resveratrol actually mimicked the effects of aerobic exercise in mice that were fed the high fat and sugar diets.
Dr. Hyatt’s current study was published in Frontiers in Physiology journal. In the study, a control group of rhesus monkeys were fed a healthy diet, while another group was fed a high fat and sugar diet. Half of the second group was given a resveratrol supplement. The researchers were looking to find out how different areas of the body were affected by the supplement, especially taking a closer look at back leg muscles. Muscles were broken down into three groups: slow, fast and mixed.
The soleus muscle (categorized as a “slow” muscle), a large muscle that goes from the knee to the heel, is used during walking or standing. Out of all of the studied muscles, the soleus was the most affected by harmful diet. The muscle was also the most responsive to the treatment of resveratrol. Myosin, a protein that helps the soleus muscle contract and determines how “fast” or “slow” it is, went from being more on the slow side, to the fast side when exposed to the high sugar and fat diet. The resveratrol supplement was able to counteract this drastic change.
The plantaris muscle, which is located on the back of the calf and is 5 to 10 cm long, did not respond negatively to the unhealthy diet. However, myosin proteins shifted from fast to slow when exposed to the supplement. The third muscle within the study was not affected at all by diet or by resveratrol supplement.
Hyatt expects that other slow muscles will respond in the same way the soleus muscle did when exposed to both the drastic change in diet and the supplement. He says the research implies that these muscles are far more resistant to fatigue when given resveratrol. Hyatt believes this research could be applied to humans, offering improved physical activity, mobility and even stability which could be especially helpful to the elderly.
The team would like to remind people that just because red wine may be able to reverse the clock in a sense when it comes to damage done to the body upon eating unhealthy foods, this study should not condone starting high fat or high sugar diets. What the team does want to stress is that red wine may be something that could benefit individuals who are looking for more ways to stay healthy and maintain their good health.