For the holidays, a good glass of resveratrol

The holiday season is a great time to take a well-deserved break and reconnect with family and friends. If you are one of those people for whom these festivities are the opportunity to have a drink, studies confirm that red wine rich in resveratrol, is truly the source of alcohol that provides the most health benefits. A good way to celebrate, while sparing your health, in moderation of course!

Red wine is distinguished from other types of alcoholic beverages by its resveratrol content, a phytochemical found almost exclusively in the skin of grapes where it protects it from microorganisms. Many studies have shown that this molecule has several activities that influence a range of cellular processes to prevent the development of chronic diseases.

In addition to the well-documented effects of resveratrol on cholesterol levels as well as on the fluidity of blood circulation, two important parameters for the prevention of heart disease, two published studies illustrate the immense “health” potential of this molecule.

On the one hand, a study shows that resveratrol has anticancer properties by blocking the growth of breast tumor cells; on the other hand, this molecule also acts from the point of view of metabolism and could counter the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the development of insulin resistance.

The reveratrohl, a model of a protective molecule

Italian researchers observed that exposure of cells derived from breast cancers to resveratrol caused a marked reduction in their growth. This effect is caused by a drastic decrease in the expression of the estrogen receptor, a protein often associated with the progression of breast cancer cells.

More importantly, the study shows that resveratrol stops the growth of cancer cells that are resistant to tamoxifen, a drug commonly used to treat hormone-dependent breast cancers.

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These results therefore suggest that resveratrol could serve as a model for the development of anti-cancer agents that can be used for the treatment of women who become resistant to these hormonal therapies.

Another study indicates, however, that women should remain particularly cautious about alcohol, because regular consumption, even moderate, is associated with a slight increase (10%) in the risk of breast cancer.

Those who wish to drink must therefore ensure that the moderate consumption of red wine (1 glass per day) is done in concert with a diet rich in plants, the maintenance of a healthy body weight and regular physical activity in a counteract this increased risk.

Mitigating the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle

In a completely different area of ​​research, French scientists have examined the impact of resveratrol on muscle function under conditions of extreme sedentary lifestyle. It has been known for several years that astronauts, physically inactive when placed in the absence of gravity, present serious problems of muscle atrophy and loss of bone mass following their return from space.

By using an animal model mimicking these conditions of prolonged inactivity, French researchers observed that the administration of resveratrol to these animals was sufficient to preserve the mass as well as the metabolic activity of the muscle cells.

This effect is important because muscles therefore retain their insulin sensitivity and prevent the development of hyperglycemic conditions that can lead to type 2 diabetes. In other words, these results suggest that resveratrol mimics the positive impacts of physical activity and this property could counteract the negative effects associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

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Red wine is obviously not a medicine, capable of preventing illnesses on its own. The absence of smoking, maintaining a normal body weight and a diet rich in plants are absolutely essential components of a true preventive approach.

However, in such conditions, the moderate consumption of red wine constitutes an additional way of combining pleasure and prevention of certain chronic diseases. Happy New Year’s Eve and to your health!


De Amicis F et al. Resveratrol, through NF-Y/p53/Sin3/HDAC1 complex phosphorylation, inhibits estrogen receptor {alpha} gene expression via p38MAPK/CK2 signaling in human breast cancer cells. FASEB J.25: 3695-3707.

Chen WY et al. Moderate alcohol consumption during adult life, drinking patterns, and breast cancer risk. JAMA; 306: 1884-1890.

Momken I et al. Resveratrol prevents the wasting disorders of mechanical unloading by acting as a physical exercise mimetic in the rat. FASEB J; 25:364636-60.


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