More Red Wine Propaganda

[Wine-go-Round, 560 W. Washington, Chicago, IL]

Good thing I like wine1.

Red wine stops effects of high-fat diet
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Red wine does indeed explain why the French get away with a relatively clean bill of heart health despite eating a diet loaded with saturated fats, concludes a new study.

Red wine contins resveratrol which can blunt the toxic effects of a high-fat diet
Many have speculated that answer to the paradox lies in their love of a glass or two of wine with a meal and have focused on a chemical found in red wine called resveratrol, also a natural constituent of grapes, pomegranates and other foods.

Earlier studies have shown it can blunt the toxic effects of a diet very high in fat, which causes liver damage, but this is the first study to directly look at ageing.

Today, in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers report that even low doses of resveratrol in the diet of middle-aged mice has a widespread influence on the genetic levers of ageing, and may confer special protection on the heart.

Specifically, the researchers found that low doses of resveratrol mimic the helpful effects of what is known as caloric restriction, diets with the full range of nutrients but up to 30 per cent fewer calories than a typical diet, which extend lifespan and slow the progression of age related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.

“This brings down the dose of resveratrol toward the consumption reality mode,” says senior author Prof Richard Weindruch of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

[From Red wine stops effects of high-fat diet – Telegraph ]

My thought is: everything that’s part of human experience is good. Drinking wine is part of civilization, there must be benefits.

  1. another post that never got posted, but now is, sans much from me []

Red Wine May Slow Aging

Breakfast drinks self-portrait
[Breakfast drinks self-portrait – click to embiggen]

Is it too early to have a sip? I could pretend we lived in 17th C.E. France…

Red wine may be much more potent than was thought in extending human lifespan, researchers say in a new report that is likely to give impetus to the rapidly growing search for longevity drugs.

The study is based on dosing mice with resveratrol, an ingredient of some red wines. Some scientists are already taking resveratrol in capsule form, but others believe it is far too early to take the drug, especially using wine as its source, until there is better data on its safety and effectiveness.

[From New Hints Seen That Red Wine May Slow Aging –]

What every meal needs
[What every meal needs – click to embiggen]

Far too early to take in drug form, but not too early to drink red wine in its natural state – a glass on the way to my mouth!

Oh wait, there isn’t much resveratrol in each glass:

the door has now been opened to drugs that exploit an ancient biological survival mechanism, that of switching the body’s resources from fertility to tissue maintenance. The improved tissue maintenance seems to extend life by cutting down on the degenerative diseases of aging.

The reflex can be prompted by a faminelike diet, known as caloric restriction, which extends the life of laboratory rodents by up to 30 percent but is far too hard for most people to keep to and in any case has not been proven to work in humans.

Research started nearly 20 years ago by Dr. Leonard Guarente of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed recently that the famine-induced switch to tissue preservation might be triggered by activating the body’s sirtuins. Dr. Sinclair, a former student of Dr. Guarente, then found in 2003 that sirtuins could be activated by some natural compounds, including resveratrol, previously known as just an ingredient of certain red wines.

Dr. Sinclair’s finding led in several directions. He and others have tested resveratrol’s effects in mice, mostly at doses far higher than the minuscule amounts in red wine. One of the more spectacular results was obtained last year by Dr. John Auwerx of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch, France. He showed that resveratrol could turn plain vanilla, couch-potato mice into champion athletes, making them run twice as far on a treadmill before collapsing.

Seriously, even I would be challenged if I had to drink 100 bottles of wine a day. However, a glass or two? No problem, no problem at all. Clinical trials always start from a higher dosage – easier to see results that way – and then work back down to lesser dosages.

Separately from Sirtris’s investigations, a research team led by Tomas A. Prolla and Richard Weindruch, of the University of Wisconsin, reports in the journal PLoS One on Wednesday that resveratrol may be effective in mice and people in much lower doses than previously thought necessary. In earlier studies, like Dr. Auwerx’s of mice on treadmills, the animals were fed such large amounts of resveratrol that to gain equivalent dosages people would have to drink more than 100 bottles of red wine a day.

The Wisconsin scientists used a dose on mice equivalent to just 35 bottles a day. But red wine contains many other resveratrol-like compounds that may also be beneficial. Taking these into account, as well as mice’s higher metabolic rate, a mere four, five-ounce glasses of wine “starts getting close” to the amount of resveratrol they found effective, Dr. Weindruch said.

Ode to Dionysus
[Ode to Dionysus – click to embiggen]

Grapes of greed

Save Ten Percent with Pippin

The corrupt Illinois legislature is back in the news, with the out-of-state wine ban we’ve mentioned before about to take effect.

For some reason, the state legislature decided that Illinoisans should not be allowed to have wine shipped to them from Internet wine shops and out-of-state wine stores. On June 1, the law will strip Illinois wine lovers of the right to buy wine from out-of-state wine stores; that’s a right they’ve had for 15 years.

Why do such a silly thing? How about $6.3 million. This is how much Illinois liquor distributors have paid in campaign contributions to Illinois politicians since 2000. You see, liquor distributors don’t like it when they don’t get a cut of the sale. When you buy that special bottle of wine from an Internet retailer, the distributors don’t bring it into the state, so they don’t get a cut of the sale. So the liquor distributors wrote a law, found a few friends in the legislature to introduce it and voila . . . you lost your rights.

It turns out that in the course of losing your right to access the wines you want so distributors can have their profits protected, Illinois has given up millions of dollars in tax revenue that would have come from taxing Internet sales of wine. Hey, who needs a few roads fixed any way? And who needs more funding for schools? Priorities, you know?

[From Mmm, grapes of greed — —]

Here are the main villains in this tale:

According to FollowTheMoney.Org, a Web site that tracks state campaign contributions, this law’s lead sponsor, Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), has received $32,000 from alcohol wholesalers since 2000, including $10,000 since the legislation was introduced last year. Senate sponsor James Clayborne Jr. (D-Belleville) has received $85,000 from alcohol wholesaler interests since 2000, including $15,000 since the legislation was introduced. Since 2002, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has received more than $500,000—just from alcohol wholesalers in Illinois, $50,000 of which was given to him since he signed the bill into law.

More on this topic here, and here (and my own pages, more, more, and probably elsewhere. )

Corking the Wine Trade

“Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide, 7th Edition: The Complete, Easy-to-Use Reference on Recent Vintages, Prices, and Ratings for More than 8,000 Wines from All … Wine Regions (Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide)” (Robert M. Parker)

Idiots in the legislature, State of Illinois edition

When the Supreme Court struck down state laws barring individuals from buying wine directly from out-of-state wineries, one lawyer called it “the best day for wine lovers since the invention of the corkscrew.”

Though they enjoy a new liberty to buy from out-of-state vineyards, Illinois oenophiles will no longer be able to order directly from out-of-state wine shops and other retail merchants — something they have been doing for the last 16 years.

It looks as though about 500 California vineyards that are not officially registered as wineries won’t be able to sell to individual buyers here either.

Meanwhile, Illinois’ largest vineyards, unlike their smaller counterparts, won’t be able to sell directly to stores and restaurants: They will have to go through wholesale distributors. That rule is bound to increase the price of a drink.

What gives? The governor’s office proclaims that the bill “represents an agreement between Illinois wineries and liquor distributors.” State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), a sponsor, boasted that it will “advance our growing wine industry.”

Notice anything missing from those pronouncements? Only the needs of ordinary wine drinkers. The clear intent is to protect the profits of favored businesses — and never mind if consumers, and the state’s most successful wine producers, lose out.

Even some of the retailers who are being protected from out-of-state competition have spoken out against the new barriers, fearing they will provoke retaliation from other states.

“Bills like these are bad for consumers,” Brian Rosen, the president and CEO of Chicago-based Sam’s Wines & Spirits, told Crain’s Chicago Business. “If every state’s borders were open to wine sales, we could sell $50 million in wine a year outside Illinois.”

[From Corking the wine trade]