Is Red Wine Really Good for Your Health?

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It’s easy to justify an extra glass of red wine here and there. We’ve heard over and over again that it’s good for us—because of the resveratrol—an ingredient in red wine thought to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce heart disease and increase health overall.

However, new research claims that for healthy women, resveratrol offers no health benefits at all. For the study, 29 healthy post-menopausal women took resveratrol supplements for 12 weeks. The data proved these women to be unaffected by the resveratrol. Many people have turned to resveratrol supplements to reap the benefits without the hangover. Within the last few years, it is reported that annual U.S. sales of these supplements have risen to $30 million. Based on the study, the authors concluded that the health benefits might be limited to only those who already have metabolic health issues.

“Few studies have evaluated the effects of resveratrol in people,” explains senior investigator Samuel Klein, MD, director of Washington University’s Center for Human Nutrition explains. “Those studies were conducted in people with diabetes, older adults with impaired glucose tolerance or obese people who had more metabolic problems than the women we studied. So it is possible that resveratrol could have beneficial effects in people who are more metabolically abnormal than the subjects who participated in the study.”

Still, red wine drinkers to appear to be less likely to develop heart disease and diabetes, leading one to believe that there are still health benefits in red wine. “The purpose of our study was not to identify the active ingredient in red wine that improves health but to determine whether supplementation with resveratrol has independent, metabolic effects in relatively healthy people,” says Dr. Klein. “We were unable to detect a metabolic benefit of resveratrol supplementation in our study population, but this does not preclude the possibility that resveratrol could have a synergistic effect when combined with other compounds in red wine.”

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