A substance found in red wine may protect the body against age-related diseases by stimulating an ancient evolutionary defence mechanism that guards human cells against genetic damage, scientists said.
Resveratrol, an organic compound found in grapes, nuts and a variety of other edible plants, has already been linked with extending the healthy life of laboratory animals as well as decreasing the incidence of heart disease and other illnesses in humans.
Nevertheless, scientists have disputed whether the supposed effects of resveratrol on human health are real and, if so, how it could be so beneficial. However, researchers have now come up with a possible answer.
The study found that resveratrol mimics another molecule found naturally in the body that is involved in activating an ancient chemical pathway to limit stress and damage to the DNA of cells – which would otherwise result in ageing and disease.
“This stress response represents a layer of biology that has been largely overlooked, and resveratrol turns out to activate it at much lower concentrations than those used in prior studies,” said Professor Paul Schimmel.