A Bottle a Day keeps the Aging Away

Following on from the tea party where polyphenols reared their (ugly) heads a “highlight” has appeared in Angewandte Chemie English edition1, 2 pointing out the benefits of red wine, i.e. resveratrol. This is a well-known molecule, which has been at the centre of some controversy of late. Resveratrol is chemically trans3,5,4’-trihydroxystilbene:

This compound can be found in many types of fruits and nuts berries AND grapes. Its concentration in red wines varies between 0.1 and 14 mg/L whereby the 3-glycosate achieves levels of 30 mg/L. Frequently associated with this compound is the “French Paradox”, not that the French are a paradox themselves, but that apparently, in spite of consuming large amounts of saturated fats and barrels of red wine, the incidence of heart disease is lower that one might well expect it to be3. Resveratrol has a plethora of biological activities associated with it:

  1. It was originally noticed for its inhibitory effects against the oxidation of lipoproteins, the low-density variety being present at the onset of atherosclerosis4.
  2. Lowering lipid levels5.
  3. Moderate anti-oxidant properties.
  4. Protective for cancer, inhibiting cellular events associated with tumour initiation, promotion and progression6.
  5. It apparently also has a positive effect in diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. It is able to activate sirtuin, thus mimicking calorie restriction and hence slowing the aging process.
  7. It also prevents phosphodiesterases from degrading cyclic AMP, also a mechanism of calorie restriction and hence age slowing.

What a list, I wonder what remains to be discovered?

Derek Lowe, at In the Pipeline  has commented extensively on this molecule and I recommend you all to have a read at the following plus the comments from his learned readership;

  1. The Latest Sirtuin Controversy
  2. Resveratrol in Humans: Results of a Controlled Trial
  3. The Sirtuin saga
  4. A resveratrol Research Scandal. Oh, joy
  5. Defending Das’ Resveratrol Research. Oh, Come On.
  6. Would I take resveratrol? Would You?

More about the sirtuins can be found on this page. In detail sirtuin1 information can be found here.

I do not profess to be conversant with all the details surrounding the apparent controversy concerning this compound and its biology. However, there is also big money at stake. GlaxoSmithKline acquired Sirtis, a company founded to discover and develop small molecules with at least some of the seven biological properties listed above. So presumably they are carrying out extensive medicinal chemistry on resveratrol. This won’t be an easy task to pick out one given the multitude of activities associated with this system, perhaps they can bundle 5,6 & 7 together. That is, of course, if there is any money left after paying the rather large fine recently dished out by the US Government. But, there is always the chance of off label indications being discovered!

Well, I shall certainly extend my red wine cellar but there won’t be many bottles in it, as I must take my daily dose of resveratrol by the bottle, especially at my age. Not to mention imbibing in tons of vitamin c and gallons of green tea. So when I drop dead after taking that lot no doubt I shall be considered as “toxic waste” and be treated accordingly.


  1. Quideau, S., Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2012, 51(28), 6824-6826.
  2. Quideau, S., Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2011, 50(3), 586-621.
  3. S. Renaud, M. de Lorgeril, Lancet 1992, 339, 1523 – 1526.
  4. E. Frankel, A. Waterhouse, J. Kinsella, Lancet 1993, 341, 1103 – 1104.
  5. H. Arichi, Y. Kimura, H. Okuda, K. Baba, M. Kozawa, S. Arichi, Chem. Pharm. Bull. 1982, 30, 1766 – 1770
  6. M. Jang, L. Cai, G. O. Udeani, K. V. Slowing, C. F. Thomas, C. W. W. Becheer, H. H. S. Fong, N. R. Farnsworth, A. D. King- horn, R. G. Mehta, R. C. Moon, J. M. Pezzuto, Science 1997, 275, 218 – 220

One Comment

  1. Very interesting.

    Maybe you should go into the wine business. You can name the winery Resveratrol Vineyards.

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