Newsflash

Would You Try the New Red Wine Pill?

Mmm, a crushed wine pill sprinkled over our steak.

Wine is one of life’s great pleasures, whether we're popping open a bottle to drink with dinner or sipping glasses with friends at the end of the day. Wine's health benefits are just a bonus, as far as we're concerned: The compound known as resveratrol, present in wine and full of antioxidants, supposedly has anti-aging properties and can help fight everything from heart disease to diabetes and more.

So perhaps it was inevitable that crafty scientists would try to find a way to cram wine's benefits into a little pill. In major killjoy news, that way has indeed been found. Jupiter Orphan Therapeutics Inc., a Florida-based biotech company, has created a synthesized form of resveratrol that protects the molecule from being broken down in the liver, thus preserving the benefits you would get from drinking it.

But there's a little catch. The pill, besides being less fun (in our opinion) than holding a glass of wine in your hand, also won't contain alcohol. That's right, your wine fix will come without a side of buzz. But get this: Not only does the wine pill sound a lot less fun, it also potentially prevents the resveratrol from being fully absorbed into your system.

Part of the benefit of drinking red wine is the way the nutrients interact as they cross your palate and make their way through your system. Research by Alberto Bertelli, a biomedical sciences professor at the University of Milan, suggests that alcohol may play a role in helping the body absorb resveratrol, notes the Wall Street Journal.

As Shawn Stevenson, clinical nutritionist and host of The Model Health Show (featured as iTunes #1 Fitness & Nutrition Podcast), explained to The Feast, drinking wine means "you get to interact with the resveratrol more, mixing it with the DNA and RNA in your saliva." He adds, "research shows that resveratrol is better absorbed in the body along with an alcohol solution (big win for the wine lovers!)”

Of course, it's easy to get carried away with a substance as tasty and easily drinkable as red wine, not to mention how tempting it is to use "wine is good for you!" as an excuse to overindulge.

“Once scientists discovered the abundance of resveratrol found in red wine, it was open season on having a glass or two (or six) since red wine was suddenly a health food,” Stevenson adds. "If we can get the vast benefits of resveratrol, without the potential negative side effects that too much alcohol can have on your liver, kidneys, and brain cells (among other things), why not go for it?”

Point taken. Still, we'll be sticking with the liquid version for now, thanks.

(Via the Wall Street Journal.)

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