Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Red wine health news

Not that I'd have guessed this, but we've been blogging about the health benefits of the compound resveratrol for years. it can be found in blueberries and even peanut butter, but perhaps its most well-known source is red wine.

And therein may lie a problem:

"A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on the health effects of resveratrol – a compound found in red wine, dark chocolate and some fruits and vegetables – has generated a lot of sensational headlines"

This study claims that there are, in fact, "no health benefits from red wine and chocolate."

[ed: one wonders, then, about the anti-oxidant properties of dark chocolate - are these hype, as well?]

Sounds bleak, no?

Never fear, Dr Manny is here (Dr. Manny Alvarez is FOX News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News; he is also a member of numerous professional societies). The good doctor has a number of qualms about the study:

"... there were many factors omitted in the study. We have limited knowledge of the lifestyle and family histories of these participants. Furthermore, surveys carry a certain degree of inaccuracy, because they rely on the honor system. And the researchers did not measure participants’ resveratrol levels at the end of the nine-year study period to see how these levels might have changed"

Seems like that last bit reflects a major fail on the researchers' part.

On the other hand, Dr Manny is also a bit leary of the purported benefits of resveratrol, and cautions us to be skeptical about some of the claims its proponents make:

"Many Americans may believe that taking a daily pill, like resveratrol, can prevent any number of diseases. That is not how diseases work."

So, is resveratrol a hero or a villain? Well, probably not the latter, but maybe not the former, either.
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