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Resveratrol from red wine could treat major illnesses

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Resveratrol in red wine is known for controlling inflammation and promoting health. Until now scientists did not understand how the ingredient in red wine works. New research from scientists in Scotland and Singapore shows that resveratrol from red wine could be used to treat major illnesses such as overwhelming systemic infection (sepsis), appendicitis, and peritonitis (a serious condition related to inflammation in the abdominal cavity).

Alirio Melendez, one of the study’s researchers and senior lecturer on the faculty of medicine at Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre in Scotland explained the purpose of studying the red wine ingredient, resveratrol - "Strong acute inflammatory diseases such as sepsis are very difficult to treat and many die every day due to lack of treatment. Moreover, many survivors of sepsis develop a very low quality of life due to the damage that inflammation causes to several internal organs. The ultimate goal of our study was to identify a potential novel therapy to help in the treatment of strong acute inflammatory diseases."

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The potential for using resveratrol compounds found in red wine and grapes to treat major illnesses was found after the researchers induced inflammation in two groups of mice. One group had been pre-treated with resveratrol, the other was not.

The mice given the red wine ingredient resveratrol were protected from inflammation, but the mice receiving no pre-treatment experienced a strong inflammatory response, the same as humans. Resveratrol inhibited the formation of two important molecules that cause inflammation - sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D.

The researchers say resveratrol from red wine might be useful for developing new compounds to treat life-threatening major illnesses associated with inflammation. The study is the first to show how resveratrol works to control inflammation in the body. The results show that the red wine compound could be a powerful player in the fight against major illnesses, most of which are associated with inflammation and injury.

The FASEB Journal. 2009;23:2412-2424