PUMPING IRONY: The Elixer of Youth

A new study suggests resveratrol could help geezers stay upright more often, but don’t head for the wine bar just yet.

For several years now, scientists have been extolling the anti-aging virtues of resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes. It’s been shown in various studies to reduce inflammation and cholesterol, thus lowering a geezer’s risk of heart disease and cancer. I like to celebrate these studies with a glass of wine — my preferred resveratrol delivery system.

This research has played a major role in creating the notion that red wine is good for you. It wasn’t until recently that scientists began to note that you’d have to drink a whole lot of wine every day in order to deliver enough resveratrol into your system to notice any anti-aging effects.

But that doesn’t stop resveratrol boosters from continuing to churn out new research to solidify the healthy reputation of this “miracle molecule.” Just last month, a team of researchers from Duquesne University presented a paper at the 244th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society suggesting that resveratrol could help older folks improve their mobility and prevent falls.

“Our study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies that are seen in our aging population,” lead researcher Jane E. Cavanaugh, PhD, said in a statement. “And that would, therefore, increase an aging person’s quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalization due to slips and falls.”

The research team fed old and young laboratory mice a diet containing resveratrol and observed the older mice gradually improve their balance and mobility until, after just four weeks, they were as adept as the younger mice. Apparently, resveratrol helped the older mice fight off the effects of free radicals in brain cells and vastly improve their motor function.

Of course, that assumes you’re not delivering that resveratrol via a bottle of Pinot Noir. Cavanaugh estimated that a person would have to drink about 700 4-ounce glasses of wine each day to absorb enough resveratrol to see any improvement in balance and agility. It’s an intriguing concept, but probably not one you’d want to test at your local wine bar.

, an Experience Life deputy editor, explores the joys and challenges of aging well.

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