THE WONDER PILL NOT SO WONDERFUL
IT SEEMS THAT too much of a good thing is – in fact – a bad thing. A newly developed “wonder pill” said to harness the health-boosting benefits of red wine has actually been found to undo many of the positive effects of exercise. A recent study published in the JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY has found that a daily dose of the antioxidant resveratrol, present in red grape skins, cancels out some of the benefits of exercise, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In the study carried out by Danish scientists, 27 men in their mid-sixties were asked to perform eight weeks of high-intensity exercise. Half of the group was given 25Omg of resveratrol a day, while the other half received a placebo. Resveratrol absorbs harmful oxygen molecules known as “free radicals” that attack cells and tissues and are blamed for everything from ageing to cancer. However, the study found that these free radicals may actually be needed for the body to recover after exercise. Without them, many of the benefits of a workout, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and increasing oxygen uptake, are cancelled out. Fortunately, these findings don’t apply to actual consumption of wine. The amount of resveratrol in the supplements studied had 1OO times the potency of a glass of red wine. The scientists plan to carry out the experiment on women and younger men, and are expected to get the same results. Resveratrol has hit the headlines recently as a number of studies have praised the compound’s health-boosting properties, from anti-ageing to warding off heart disease and obesity. However, most of the research on resveratrol pills thus far has been carried out on mice and rats rather than humans.