Are Red Wine’s Health Benefits All a Lie?

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Are Red Wine’s Health Benefits All a Lie?

Here’s some good old-fashioned irony: You’re probably going to need a stiff drink after reading this news about red wine’s health benefits. Except, that drink really won't be doing you any favors (aside from maybe calming your anxiety about its lack of health benefits). Turns out, red wine is not the longevity-boosting miracle holy liquid we so wish it was. It’s more like a lie-right-in-your-face scam artist. Oh, red wine. We trusted you. We treated you like family. No, like royalty. Like the superstar we thought you were.

Okay, maybe I'm getting a little too emotional—and, red wine does have some notable health effects even if the list stops at “a relaxing as hell way to end a day.” But studies have found red wine to be beneficial in promoting heart health, perhaps even reducing inflammation throughout the body and aiding with weight loss goals. But making you live longer? Not even if you drank red wine every day, apparently. (Or several times a day, or all day.)

Resveratrol, a potent polyphenol found in red wine and hailed as a miracle chemical that can boost health, most notably by extending life, was the subject of a recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. And according to the research team’s findings, red wine didn’t extend the life of the wine-drinking Tuscan senior citizens studied for the research.

The study was led by Dr. Richard Semba of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and tracked resveratrol levels (in the urine) of nearly 800 subjects over age 65 for a nine-year period. All the subjects lived in Chianti, Italy. And according to TakePart, “those with higher levels of Sangiovese-derived resveratrol were no less likely to have high inflammation levels, develop cancer or cardiovascular disease, or die.” As the researchers explained, “Resveratrol levels achieved with a Western diet did not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk of the population in this study.”

In fact, if resveratrol has any life-extending benefits, you’d have to drink so much red wine, that, well, you would die of alcohol poisoning, which would surely put a damper on your whole life-extension goals. Experts estimate the benefits of resveratrol for life-extension are somewhere around 100 to 1,000 times what we get in a (typical) glass of wine. And while researchers are working on ways to concentrate resveratrol at those life-extending levels (and put them in pills, not wine), there’s simply no substitute for a glass of wine, even if it’s only stealing moments of our fleeting, precious life away--it’s still totally worth it, right?

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red wine image via Shutterstock 

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