The possibilities of resveratrol, a compound found in the Pinot grapes from which some wines and champagnes are made, as a treatment option for Alzheimer's disease and dementia are still largely debated, but there are an increasing number of studies that are finding a link between moderate wine and champagne consumption and improved brain activity.
What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring phenol, a group of compounds used chiefly in industrial processing. Plants produce resveratrol when they sustain physical injury or undergo attack from bacteria, fungi, or other pathogens.
In studies that test the effects of the compound, cells are treated with resveratrol. When treated, cells show an increase in the action of MnSOD (SOD2). This in turn reduces superoxide, which leads researchers to believe that resveratrol can improve resistance to mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptotic death, and permeability transition caused by various diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
What Have Clinical Studies Concluded?
The largest study to date is led by Dr. R. Scott Turner. He and a team of researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center crafted purified resveratrol and began conducting studies with it. The team split a group of 119 Alzheimer's sufferers in half and administered a placebo to one group and 1000mg of resveratrol once a day to another.
The study was conducted for one year. Turner and his team assessed the group's cognitive ability and independence at the end of the year. The results pointed to an interesting reaction.
Protein buildup in the brains of patients who received resveratrol had stopped over the course of the year. In addition, those on resveratrol had smaller brain volume compared to those who were not, indicating a lack of swelling regularly associated with Alzheimer's disease. Resveratrol patients also demonstrated improvements in the ability to conduct daily activities such as dressing and bathing.
Alzheimer’s Disease Neuron and Brain Diagram
The creation of pure resveratrol will help future research determine if the compound truly does affect cognitive deterioration in dementia and Alzheimer's patients. The Georgetown University Medical Center study is only one of several studies conducted to test its utility. As tests become larger, medical researchers will be able to tell more conclusively how well compounds like resveratrol are able to arrest mental conditions.
How Much Should I Drink?
There is no magic number for the amount of wine or champagne you must drink to enjoy the health benefits of resveratrol, but the latest round of study has suggested drinking around 3 glasses of wine or champagne per week. A less rigid guideline suggests drinking conservatively and doing it with meals.
Overdrinking has extremely detrimental effects on cognitive function, and not just temporarily. Alcohol consumption in excess kills brain cells that can't be regenerated and could cause Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms to worsen. Remember to always keep alcohol consumption moderate and responsible, and monitor your health both physical and cognitive to help make the right decisions when it comes to improving brain health.