Red Wine and Dark Chocolate are the Best Drugs!

Two of my favorite food groups: red wine and dark chocolate – and now I MH900448355discover that both are among the healthiest foods one can eat. But hold on a minute. There’s a catch.

Scientists have found that it’s not the wine or the MH900314312chocolate themselves that are beneficial. It’s a chemical within them called resveratrol. That’s the healthy part.

In animal studies, resveratrol has been shown to prevent both disease and aging. It’s been discussed as a fountain of youth.MH900405288 The problem is that you’d have to drink a river of red wine (about 100 bottles per day) or eat a football field of dark chocolate to experience life-changing health benefits.

As a clinical pharmacist, I’ve often said that we can live better through chemistry. And that mantra could be true in this case. Although we can’t drink enough red wine or eat enough dark chocolate to prevent disease or reverse the aging process, we can isolate the chemical, duplicate it in a lab and develop drugs that act like concentrated resveratrol. If scientists accomplish that, we could truly have a pharmaceutical fountain of youth!

The basis for that bold statement is that resveratrol stimulates specific proteins in our bodies. These proteins are called sirtuin proteins (or SIRT1 for short). They break down certain types of damaging proteins and instruct other proteins to repair and regenerate cells.

Over a decade ago, MIT biology professor Leonard Guarente conducted animal studies to understand the function of sirtuin proteins. He discovered that when mice were genetically altered to remove SIRT1 from their bodies, the mice developed metabolic diseases—like diabetes—and were more likely to develop inflammatory diseases and become obese. Conversely, when SIRT1 was present and SIRT1 was stimulated, older mice appeared to be much younger and healthier.

Additional studies conducted at MIT have determined that the SIRT1 present in the brain protects against the neurodegeneration that happens with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Since stimulation of sirtiun proteins appear to reduce disease and the effects of MH900400870aging (both mentally and physically) in mice, researchers are studying ways to produce a drug that acts like concentrated resveratrol. By stimulating sirtuin proteins with a pharmaceutical equivalent of pure resveratrol, scientists potentially could extend life spans by countering the effects of obesity, certain diseases and the onset of aging.

But are we ready to live better through chemistry with a pharmaceutical fountain of youth? Only time will tell as further studies are completed and the results unfold.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Dark Chocolate for Health, Drugs That Prevent Aging, Foods For Health, Foods to Prevent Aging, Pharmaceutical Fountain of Youth, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Red Wine for Health, Resveratrol for Health, Resveratrol Research and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Red Wine and Dark Chocolate are the Best Drugs!

  1. Jim,
    You had us with the title. While we can’t quite eat and drink enough, we will do our best.
    Walt (& Suzy)

  2. James
    I’m with Walt — ready, willing and able to give it a try!
    Great informative story, as always, with terrific side effects. Thanks

  3. Thanks, guys. Red wine and chocolate at my place at 5 o’clock?

  4. Pingback: Mind Sieve 4/22/13 | Gloria Oliver

  5. Rivers maybe not, but a daily dose of red wine I’m willing to try. All in the name of science, of course.

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