How Might Resveratrol and Red Wine’s Antiaging Properties Work? Study Reveals New Possibilities

Low doses of resveratrol may mimic estrogen, activating proteins called sirtuins

How Might Resveratrol and Red Wine’s Antiaging Properties Work? Study Reveals New Possibilities
Resveratrol activates sirtuins, important proteins in metabolism. But how? (istockphotos)
Apr 14, 2020

While numerous studies have teased at potential benefits of resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound found in red wine and many plants, scientists are still trying to understand its impact on the human body. In a recent study out of University College London, author Dr. Henry Bayele has found an interesting explanation for its potential as an antiaging substance. Dr. Bayele’s team found that resveratrol can mimic the hormone estrogen in the human body to activate antiaging proteins called sirtuins, which may help prevent age-related health problems.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, explores dietary sirtuin-activating compounds (dSTACs), including resveratrol. Sirtuins have become a promising target for researchers interested in slowing the aging process. They are proteins produced by the body that appear to impact metabolism and protect against several conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Learning what spurs the body to produce sirtuins has been a common goal of longevity-focused scientists over the past two decades.

The interest in sirtuins started in 1999, when it was reported that the proteins’ activation can extend yeast lifespans by as much as 70 percent. “The antiaging action of sirtuins appears to be conserved from yeast to mammals,” stated a 2017 study published in Biogerontology. “However, the complexity of their function increases with the complexity of the organism.”

In the lab, Dr. Bayele and his team treated human liver cells in vitro with different types of compounds and found that resveratrol activated sirtuin signals through estrogen receptors by mimicking the hormone. Although estrogen is commonly defined as a female hormone, men and women both produce it, and it can help protect against the same things sirtuins prevent, such as heart disease.

Results also showed that resveratrol mimics estrogen in low doses, but becomes antiestrogenic in higher concentrations, consequently suppressing sirtuin signals. “Excessive intake may in fact be counterproductive because, in high doses, the study found that resveratrol inhibited sirtuin activation of the estrogen receptors,” Dr. Bayele told Wine Spectator. “Therefore, the low doses of resveratrol found in a regular glass of red wine should be sufficient to activate the sirtuins. Simply put, for red wine or resveratrol to improve healthspan, less is more.”

So what’s a low dose? Dr. Bayele explains that a regular glass of table wine contains about 0.5 to 1 milligram of resveratrol. “Of note, these concentrations are similar to those at which resveratrol behaves like estrogen to induce maximal sirtuin signaling through the estrogen receptors,” he said.

Other dSTACs studied were better than resveratrol at activating sirtuins, such as isoliquiritigenin, which is found in licorice. According to Dr. Bayele, resveratrol has attracted the most attention due to its accessibility in red wine, combined with its demonstrable protection against metabolic, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. “It has been shown to increase lifespan in diverse organisms,” he writes in the study.

While the research shows promise, the findings have yet to face human trials or long-term studies, and must be better understood before potential treatments can be developed. Dr. Bayele also warns that dSTACs are poorly soluble, and it’s difficult to determine how much are absorbed in the cell culture. His main takeaway is that wine lovers must also incorporate a healthy diet to improve healthy aging and prevent the onset of metabolic and age-related diseases.

In the case of resveratrol, Dr. Bayele says that when humans consume it, only small amounts are rapidly absorbed, while a large proportion gets metabolized in the small intestine, which complicates the validity of the data. In short, it is still unclear how resveratrol intake would affect sirtuin signaling in vivo, but Dr. Bayele is confident that these dietary compounds are hidden treasures.

“While [resveratrol’s] role in aging/lifespan regulation remains controversial,” Dr. Bayele writes, “Its contribution to healthspan is not in doubt.”

News Health Resveratrol

You Might Also Like

Bordeaux Begins the 2021 Futures Campaign in Challenging Times: En Primeur Prices and Analysis

Bordeaux Begins the 2021 Futures Campaign in Challenging Times: En Primeur Prices and Analysis

Facing a rough growing season and unsettled economies, leading wineries are taking a …

May 20, 2022
Major Food Group Debuts Dirty French Steakhouse in Miami; Daniel Boulud Opens Le Gratin in New York

Major Food Group Debuts Dirty French Steakhouse in Miami; Daniel Boulud Opens Le Gratin in New York

The team of Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick are expanding their presence in …

May 19, 2022
Prince Robert de Luxembourg Auctions Wines Straight from Haut-Brion's Cellars for a Cause Close to Home

Prince Robert de Luxembourg Auctions Wines Straight from Haut-Brion's Cellars for a Cause Close to Home

The Sotheby's sale of rare collectibles—Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and other top …

May 18, 2022
Destin Charity Wine Auction Raises $3.8 Million for Children in Need

Destin Charity Wine Auction Raises $3.8 Million for Children in Need

The northwest Florida event has become one of the country's largest, supporting 16 …

May 11, 2022
Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Our next two episodes feature American music trio and founders of Gaslighter Wine Co. The …

May 21, 2022
Sommelier Caleb Ganzer Reaches Agreement with District Attorney on Arson Charges

Sommelier Caleb Ganzer Reaches Agreement with District Attorney on Arson Charges

Accused of torching two outdoor dining sheds in 2021, the sommelier will pay restitution to …

May 9, 2022