In vino sanitas: the French paradox

The French are known to enjoy wine and to eat a rich diet featuring such delicacies as foie gras, sweetbread or kidneys.Yet, on average, the French have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than teetotalers: this is what medical researchers call the French paradox explained by the red wine consumption of the French. For a number of years, it has been known that the molecule responsible for the French paradox is resveratrol, a naturally occurring molecule in wine which acts as an anti-oxidant[1].Resveratrol was isolated in 1940 by Professor Tokoaka in white hellebore, showing how good an intuition La Fontaine had when his rabbit suggested to the tortoise that it should eat some white hellebore to restore its sanity put in question by the tortoise’s challenge to the rabbit to a foot race!

Researchers from the University of the Basque Country have now shown yet another benefit of resveratrol by demonstrating its beneficial action in the reduction of fat accumulation in the liver for reasons other than alcoholism[2] .It was known that the consumption of red wine reduces the risk of lung cancer[3],protect the prostate (those who drink 4-7 glasses of red wine per week have half the risk of prostate cancer of non-drinkers)[4],and, at least for men ( a way of thanking Noah for having planted a vineyard[5]?),can add 5 years to the life expectancy[6] (half a glass a day versus no drinking at all).According to researchers from the Yale School  of Public Health, patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who drink wine have have a better survival rate after 5 years than non-drinkers, that those patients who have been drinking wine for at least 25 years before being diagnosed have  25-35%less risk of relapse, death or development of secondary cancer than non-drinkers 5 years after and that if the cancer is a B-cell lymphoma the risk difference is 60%[7].A recent  study carried out at the Cornell School of Medicine shows that this splendid molecule greatly reduces the formation of plaques, thought to be responsible for Alzheimer’s, in the brains of the tested animals[8].The action on plaques might be due to the chelation of copper. According to Professor Greenberger, Head of the Radiation Oncology Department of the Scholl of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, resveratrol in acetylated form may offer protection against radiation exposure[9].

Last, but not least, a study of food consumption patterns of wine and beer drinkers in Danemark,France and the United States, published in the British Medical Journal [10]in 2006 shows that wine drinkers have better dietary habits than beer drinkers. Wine drinkers eat more fruits, vegetables, olives (for extra dry martinis?), white meat and use less fat in cooking than beer drinkers. Beer drinkers buy more prepared foods, chips, cold cuts, sausages, butter and margarine and soft drinks!

Resveratrol laudamus te!


[1] Some think the molecule’s action is due to the activation of the Sirtuin 1 gene: Lagouge M, Argmann C, Gerhart-Hines Z, et al (December 2006). « Resveratrol improves mitochondrial function and protects against metabolic disease by activating SIRT1 and PGC-1α« . Cell 127 (6): 1109–22.

[2] Basque Research (2009, May 13). Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Helps To Reduce Quantity Of Fat In Liver. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/05/090512111157.htm. Ms Elizabeth Hijona Muruamendiaraz  experimented on mice suffering from non-alcoholic hepatic esteatosis.For additional references on the beneficial action of resveratrol on liver fonctions :cf. University of California, San Diego Health Sciences (2008, May 22). Daily Glass Of Wine Could Improve Liver Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/05/080520162239.htm

[3] American Association for Cancer Research (2008, October 7). Red Wine May Lower Lung Cancer Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/10/081007073922.htm

[4] Harvard Men’s Health Watch (2007, May 26). Red Wine Protects The Prostate, Research Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070525215203.htm ; University of Alabama at Birmingham (2007, September 1). Red Wine Compound Shown To Prevent Prostate Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/08/070831131320.htm

[5] Gen.9:20

[6] BMJ-British Medical Journal (2009, April 30). Half A Glass Of Wine A Day May Boost Life Expectancy By Five Years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/04/090429205609.htm

[6] American Association for Cancer Research (2009, April 24). Drinking Wine May Increase Survival Among Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/04/090421154322.htm

[7] BMJ-British Medical Journal (2009, April 30). Half A Glass Of Wine A Day May Boost Life Expectancy By Five Years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/04/090429205609.htm

[7] American Association for Cancer Research (2009, April 24). Drinking Wine May Increase Survival Among Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/04/090421154322.htm

[8] Karuppagounder SS, Pinto JT, Xu H, Chen HL, Beal MF, Gibson GE (November 2008). « Dietary supplementation with resveratrol reduces plaque pathology in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease ». Neurochem Int. 54: 111.

[9] [9] University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (2008, September 24). Plant Antioxidant May Protect Against Radiation Exposure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/09/080923181110.htm

[10] BMJ-British Medical Journal (2006, January 20). Wine Drinkers Have Healthier Diets Than Beer Drinkers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2006/01/060119232848.htm

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :