A remarkable new study conducted by researchers in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UT Austin has revealed yet another amazing health benefit of red wine — that it scan in fact counterbalance poor eating habits.
Dr. Christopher Jolly, associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, explained in the study, which was recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, that, “In preclinical studies, resveratrol has been shown to be beneficial in slowing the aging process and inhibiting some of the deleterious effects linked to obesity,” a finding that corroborates earlier claims about red wine’s health benefits. “However,” added Dr. Jolly, “this is the first study showing resveratrol’s effects on the immune system.”
Resveratrol is a chemical naturally occurring in red wine, and its newfound benefits in bolstering the immune system and combating the ill-effects of a poor diet is bound to further embolden proponents of holistic remedies and the natural supplementation of the diet in order to curtail disease.
In the case of resveratrol, the study at UT Austin observed mice that were given resveratrol doses in their diets The results of the study revealed that the chemical actively affects the thymus, which produces T cells, an important type of white blood cell that fights infections.
“In order to mimic leanness or obesity, the researchers fed one group of mice a low-fat diet and another group of mice a high-fat diet. Controls from both the high-fat and low-fat groups did not receive resveratrol supplementation while mice in the experimental groups received either a low or high dose of resveratrol.
Mice in the high-fat diet control group at the end of 10 weeks had 60 percent body fat and greatly reduced T cell production. However, when resveratrol was included in the high-fat diet, the mice gained less body fat and maintained most of their thymic function.”
Because T cells begin the process of involution early in life, “decreased thymic activity is thought to be one of the major reasons older people are more susceptible to infectious disease,” according to the UT Austin press release. This where red wine, the immune system, and obesity all interconnect. “Diet-induced obesity has been shown to increase the rate of thymic involution and thus depresses immune function.” He goes on to explain that, ”Even if you have a very unhealthy diet, there are things you can consume simultaneously that can help protect you from some of the ill effects of an unbalanced diet. Resveratrol is one of those things.”
Additional research is needed to determine the optimum dosages for humans, and while researchers acknowledge that red wine contains abundant levels of resveratrol, in order to get the full health benefits, supplements may also be required.