Resveratrol – a substance found in red wine,grapes and chocolate may not add years to your life, and it doesn’t appear to reduce the risk for heart disease or cancer either, according to new research.
“When it comes to diet, health and ageing, things are not simple and probably do not boil down to one single substance, such as resveratrol,” said study lead researcher Dr Richard Semba, a professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
The findings also cast doubt about taking resveratrol supplements, he said.
“Perhaps it brings us back again to rather tried and true advice of diet – Mediterranean-style – and regular aerobic exercise forhealthy ageing,” said Semba.
The report was published in the online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.
Read: Red wine may help you live longer
Red wine and chocolate have been shown to have beneficial effects on health, and these benefits were attributed largely to a single substance – resveratrol. Resveratrol has been credited as being responsible for the so-called “French paradox”, in which even a diet high in cholesterol and fat can be healthy if it is accompanied with red wine, the researchers explained.
No significant differences
For the study, Semba’s team followed nearly 800 men and women 65 years or older who were part of the Aging in the Chianti Region study from 1998 to 2009 in two villages in Italy.
These folks had a diet rich in resveratrol, the researchers note.
To see if resveratrol in the diet could lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and death, the researchers measured traces of products left by resveratrol in the participant’s urine.
During the follow-up period, 268 people (34.3%) died; 174 (27.2 %) developed heart disease and 34 (4.6 %) developed cancer, the researchers found.
When the researchers looked at the resveratrol levels, they found no significant differences in the rate of death from those with the lowest levels to the highest. They also found no association with higher levels of resveratrol and a lower risk of heart disease or cancer. In fact, the lowest rates of heart disease were in people with the lowest levels of resveratrol.