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Med Beat: Red wine compound may slow aging

Med Beat: Red wine compound may slow aging


A research team at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found red wine can stave off the aging process in old mice.

Gregorio Valdez’s team discovered that resveratrol, a compound in the skin of red grapes and wine, slowed down the aging process between the brain and the muscular system that can lead to gait and balance problems and impair mobility.

Humans wishing to try this experiment at home should know two things:

First, “in wine, resveratrol is in such small amounts you could not drink enough of it in your life to have the benefits we found in mice given resveratrol,” Valdez said in a news release. “These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.”

Second, Valdez previously found the same benefits are achieved through optimum diet and exercise.

The work on resveratrol and on finding similar neuroprotective benefits in metformin, a drug prescribed in type 2 diabetes, was published Tuesday in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

“We all slow down as we get older,” Gregorio Valdez said. “Gait, balance issues, and impaired motor coordination contribute to health problems, accidents, lack of mobility, and a lower quality of life. We work on identifying molecular changes that slow down motor deficits that occur with aging. I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits.”

Rafael de Cabo, an investigator with the Experimental Gerontology Section of the National Institute of Aging, was a co-author of the study, along with Valdez lab members Dillon Shapiro, an undergraduate biological sciences researcher at Virginia Tech; lab manager Nicholas Maxwell of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Jessica Stockinger, an undergraduate student at Roanoke College.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Aging, and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

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