Saturday, June 13, 2009

Red wine ingredient is a 'wonderdrug'

Here we go again: The antioxidant religion. That moderate drinking simply relaxes you, thus reducing stress-related diseases, seems not to have been considered. That taking antioxidants in pill form actually REDUCES your lifespan suggests that they are not what gives wine its benefits

An ingredient of red wine really is a 'wonderdrug', claim scientists, after research suggested it kills cancer cells and protects the heart and brain from damage. Researchers claim moderate drinking of red wine appears to reduce "all causes of mortality" and protects people from age-related disorders such as dementia, diabetes and high blood pressure. They said that the key ingredient appears to be resveratrol which in small doses acts as an antioxidant protecting organs but in larger quantities kills dangerous cancer cells.

"The breadth of benefits is remarkable – cancer prevention, protection of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more," said Professor Lindsay Brown of the University of Queensland.

The conclusions were drawn by Professor Brown and her team after a "mini review" of a number of recent studies about the health benefits of red wine published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The biochemists said that red wine appears to contain a number of antioxidants - naturally-occurring protective compounds - which are good for your health but that resveratrol was the most powerful. They concluded that it "shows therapeutic potential" for cancer and heart disease and may aid in the prevention of age-related disorders that affect the brain and the body.

The ability to protect healthy cells but kill diseased ones was still puzzling scientists, the study claimed, but they said the most likely explanation was low concentrations "activate survival mechanisms of cells while high concentrations turn on the inbuilt death signals in these cells".

But the researchers warned that moderation was the key as too much drinking causes multiple organ damage.

Professor Stephen Taylor, also at the University of Queensland, said that resveratrol is the "compound du jour" and that its beauty was that it is a medicine most people enjoy taking. "I think that red wine has both some mystique and some historical symbolism in the west and of course, some various pleasures attached to its ingestion, all of which give it a psychological advantage edge, food-wise," he said. He said "not many of us can or will eat a couple of cups of blueberries a day for years on end" but we were happy to have a glass of wine.

Professor Brown said the research was starting to explain reports from the last 200 years that drinking red wine improves health. "It is a cliché that nature is a treasure trove of compounds," she said. "But studies with resveratrol show that this is correct. We need to understand better the vast array of compounds that exist in nature, and determine their potential benefits to health."



Apologies for not giving a link to premature death from antioxidant pills. Here's one

Steak-lovers have little chance of children

This is a REAL doozy. I don't know how my father had four children, two conceived rather late in life. Like many Australians of his generation, he ate steak every day. And he certainly wasn't big on fruit and vegetables (unless you call beer a vegetable!). Anyway, below it is just the old antioxidant religion again. It's a very small and limited study: Of men attending a Spanish fertility clinic. And how come 31 of them DIDN'T have "reproductive problems"?? Why were they there?

Men who gorge on steak, burgers and full-fat cream have such poor quality sperm they stand little chance of fathering a child, scientists say. Those who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables have higher quality sperm that swims faster, according to new research.

Scientists in Spain found good quality sperm is a direct result of a diet high in antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables and especially in peppers, citrus fruits and spinach. Antioxidants work by slowing or stopping the oxidation of other molecules in the body which has a direct effect on both the number of sperm and their ability move fast.

Sperm are fewer and slower in men who eat few antioxidants and instead feast on meat and full-fat dairy products. Lead researcher Jaime Mendiola, of the University of Murcia, Spain, said: "A healthy diet is not only a good way of avoiding illness, but improves the quality of semen. "Men who eat lots of meat and full-fat dairy products have much poorer quality sperm than those who eat lots of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are ingesting more antioxidants, and this is the important point."

The scientists spent four years studying men in two fertility clinics in Spain to see if anything in their diets or exposure to pollution at work was making it difficult for some to father children. "We saw that, among the couples with fertility problems coming to the clinics, men with good semen quality ate more vegetables and fruit, which means more vitamins, folic acid and fibre and fewer proteins and fats, than those with poor sperm quality," Professor Mendiola said.

In his next study he will examine if it matters if men receive their vitamins from food or from pills. The study carried out among 61 men, 30 of whom had reproductive problems and 31 who didn't. The research was published in the journal 'Fertility and Sterility'.


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