Posts Filed Under wine health
Alzheimer’s Disease, the most prominent form of disorders impacting the brain that we widely term as dementia, is a subject near and dear to the Dude’s heart.
What many people don’t know is that Alzheimer’s is in the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. Currently, the disease is fatal, and there is no cure. Yet. What’s particularly insidious about Alzheimer’s is the toll it takes on those who care the most about its victims.
My grandmother, now in her mid-90s, has Alzheimer’s. She has forgotten how to descend stairs, so she is confined to the second story of the house that she shares with my mother. When I visited her recently and tried to show her my newborn baby, my grandmother simply stared at as and softly shook her head from side to side. She had no idea who we were, and we likely were scaring the hell out of her with our behavior.
So you might imagine that I am no friend to Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t hate much in this world, and I consider hate a very strong word to use in any circumstances. I hate Alzheimer’s. I’ve yet to make any peace with it (apologies to the Buddhists out there… I am trying!).
What does this have to do with wine?…
A Swedish study has found a possible link between moderate wine drinking and lower instances of dementia. The study is hardly conclusive, but it suggests that wine may help protect against certain forms of dementia, and gives credence to follow-up studies that would explore the possible link further:
“These findings, in combination with the fact that women today drink more wine than 40 years ago, show that it is important to continue to do research on this correlation. In future analyses we will be studying the effect on more specific types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Other research methods will be needed in order to see what role wine and other alcoholic beverages play in the development of dementia“
Of course, there is a flip-side to this coin (and as any regular readers of this blog can tell you, it’s my M.O. to show to a sobering flip-side in these situations). Other unrelated studies have found a possible correlation between heavy drinking and the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. According to one such study, heavy alcohol consumption might contribute to speeding up the onset of Alzheimer’s by up to 5 years.
As usual, moderation is probably best.
I hate to end on a down note, so I decided that I’d like to put my money where my mouth is.
From now through September 1st, 2008, I will donate 50% of the proceeds from the sale of my Tasting Guide to the Alzheimer’s Association. If you have a wine-related website or blog, please consider becoming an Affiliate to sell my guide on your site during that time. If it’s successful, I may extend it indefinitely – so stay tuned, and help spread the word.
You can also help the cause to fight Alzheimer’s by displaying a ribbon from Caring.com on your website or blog. Each ribbon means a $10 caring.com donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. Check out the one in the 1WineDude.com sidebar for a preview.
(images: soundentistry.com, blog.makezine.com)
Witness – if you dare! – the ongoing complexity of the relationship between wine and your health:
Back in January, I offered some advice about drinking wine when you’re on a diet. In summary: wine has calories, so if you’re watching your weight you need to watch your alcohol intake as well.
That article became pretty popular, and ever since posting it I’ve been on the lookout for a follow-up on the topic. Six months later, I’ve had readers (separately) send me links to two very interesting – and very different – answers to the question: Does this wine make me look fat?
Answer #1: NO
According to ScienceDaily.com, our old pal resveratrol – a substance found in red wine – might aid in the conversion of fat. From the article:
“When cells were exposed to resveratrol, our studies showed a pretty dramatic reduction in the conversion to fat cells and a lesser but still significant increase in the mobilization of existing fat…”
Sounds like good news for those looking to drink wine and cut their fat. But not so fast there, Richard Simmons…
Answer #2: YES
Resveratrol might help stave off some fat, but Bodybuilding.com cites a study that showed alcohol to mess with the body’s ability to process fat – and not in a positive way.
“For several hours after drinking… whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by 73%.”
Now, that study only had eight participants – hardly enough for statistical certainty. But it suggests that the relationship between alcoholic beverages and our bodies’ fat burning potential isn’t a simple one.
So which one is it?
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell. The only thing we know for sure is that wine has alcohol, and alcohol has calories, and consuming too many calories will probably get stored by your body as fat. Call me a sour-puss, but as far as I’m concerned there’s no fat-bustin’ magic bullet here. Better stick to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and enjoying your fave vino with the appropriate amount of moderation.
No doubt that a glass or two of red vino can awaken your youthful enthusiasm, under the right circumstances of course (dining with friends, during a hot date…).
But can red wine literally make you young at heart? As in, keeping your ticker from aging?
Apparently it might, according to this article released today by BBC News.
Actually, what the article states is that our old friend Resvertatrol, a compound found in red wines, appears to be able to do this – for mice.
Actually, what the article states is that Resveratrol in substantially larger quantities than can be safely delivered to your body through normal amounts of responsible red wine drinking, might have an anti-aging effect on heart genes.
When we hit a real health breakthrough with wine compounds that has a positive impact on humans, we’ll know it – because it will be much bigger news than any of these important (but inconclusive) lead-up studies.
If I sound skeptical, it’s not because I think this type of research isn’t valuable. It’s because the media oversells this research a bit, thereby fueling a specious supplement market. And because I like to skeptical. And cynical (I know… what a jerk!).
Don’t be too swayed by the media around this. When we hit a real health breakthrough with wine compounds that has a positive impact on humans, we’ll know it – because it will be much bigger news than any of these important (but inconclusive) lead-up studies.
In the meantime, if you want to get some health benefit from red wine, then enjoy a glass tonight and let the joy of connecting with that wine allow your hair to come down for a few minutes. It will probably do just as much good (maybe more) than the resveratrol that you’re consuming at the same time…