Well, here’s another reason to love red wine. Researchers have found a new health benefit of resveratrol, which occurs naturally in blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, grape skins and also in red wine. The resveratrol could help counteract the negative impact of high fat/high sugar diets.
Dr. J.P. Hyatt, an associate professor at Georgetown University, studied the effects of resveratrol in the diet of thesus monkeys. He and his researchers hypothesized that this supplement would counteract the negative impact of a high fat/high sugar diet on the hind leg muscles. Resveratrol has already shown to increase the life span of mice and slow the onset of diabetes. Positive effects of aerobic exercise in mice that were fed a high fat/high sugar diet were also found.
A current study by Dr. Hyatt was published in the open access journal Frontiers in Physiology. A group of monkeys was fed a healthy diet and another group a high fat/high sugar diet, half of which also received a resveratrol supplement and half which did not. Specifically the muscles in the back of the leg responded to the benefits of resveratrol. A “slow” muscle, a “fast” muscle and a “mixed” muscle were examined showing that each muscle responded differently to the diet and the addition of resveratrol.
A large muscle spanning from the knee to the heel is called the soleus muscle and considered a “slow” muscle used in standing and walking. The soleus was the most effected by the high fat/high sugar diet and by the resveratrol supplements and partially, because on a daily basis, this muscle is used more than the other two. A 5-10 cm long muscle along the back of the calf, the plantaris muscle, did not have a negative response to the high fat/high sugar diet but did have a positive response to the addition of resveratrol with a fast to slow myosin shift. The third muscle was not affected by the diet or addition of resveratrol.
Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect other slow muscles to respond similarly to the soleus muscle when exposed to a high fat/high sugar diet and resveratrol.
This implies that these muscles are far more fatigue resistant than those without resveratrol. Skeletal muscles that are phenotypically slower can sustain longer periods of activity and could contribute to improved physical activity, mobility or stability, especially in elderly individuals.
Even though this is encouraging, there might be a temptation to continue eating a high fat/high sugar diet and simply add a glass of red wine or cup of fruit to one’s daily consumption, but a healthy diet cannot be overemphasized. But…now there just might be yet another reason to have that glass of red wine without feeling so guilty!
–Dr Fredda Branyon