Mediterranean Red Wine Myth! Have written about this before!! It is a conundrum! There is much more than sees the eye when it comes to the plus of Mediterranean diets! Dr. Valter Longo who comes from Italy has valid comments: There are isolated pockets or blue zones in Italy…to be found in Sardinia and a small pocket of Sicily. These locals have usually had a life of movement and largely organic, vegetarian, primarily pescatarian without large portions of protein throughout their lives. Plus they have extended family and backup support. Personally could add that they have natural vitamin D from the sun. In this respect it is interesting that persons on very similar diets in Edinburgh and Dublin in Scotland and Ireland respectively, seem to trail in the so called benefits of the Mediterranean diet that includes an apparent resistance to heart and circulatory problems. Given the latitude difference this is likely a Vitamin D deficiency showing up as a necessary that is missing! See our article Secret of Mediterranean Diets! The modern Italian diet is really approaching the norm for the West…unfortunately…granted a liberal use of olive oil…one of the good oils…fresh cheeses…and perhaps an emphasis on fish…BUT the redeeming factor still seems to be a lack of Vitamin D deficiency that makes up for a lot of ills…but maybe not for essential longevity that Valter Longo discusses! Then we revert to the Blue Zones for guidance!
But to discuss that fantastic wine that Italians drink! The West has certainly hooked on to the idea that the Resveratrol in the red wine skin somehow works magic! This quite apart from the clear fact that alcohol is in itself a carcinogenic! Here the Lancet of British Medical pedigree has just published a damning indictment against any amount of alcohol! There are just too many beneficiaries of alcohol and it’s enormous revenue stream that realistically far exceeds what tobacco ever was…for the conclusions of this article not to be debunked where ever possible…including by Government bureaucracy! Our article Alcohol Our Social Killer is on point!
But a lot is made of that Italian or Mediterranean tendency to a glass or two or three! of wine and recently the tempo and hype for a glass of red wine to contain Resveratrol that is a Poyphenol and thus a great anti oxidant! As the Mediterranean population seems to have less heart attacks perhaps the concept that Resveratrol reducing oxidative stress damage to our cardio system by neutralizing free radicals is valid. But try not to get the antioxidant just from red wine! The reality is that you need several bottles a day to experience the benefits scientists say is contained in the anti oxidant Resveratrol!! There is another advantage in that Resveratrol may be somewhat magical as it addtionally to neutralizing harmful free radicals can also cross the blood brain barrier to help protect the neurons and neural brain system. This is vitally important to offset Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that is slowly progressive with ever increasing negative statistical numbers as one ages!
Free Radicals are a fact of life! Fortunately, it’s not all negative, normal bodily functions such as breathing, metabolism, and physical activity generate free radicals. The immune system also generates free radicals to help neutralize viruses and bacteria. It really comes down to quantum...too many and it is overwhelming! Some free radicals are environmental: pollution, radiation, pesticides, and cigarette smoking, even alcohol consumption that really is a far greater new parallel to what cigarettes were! What aggravates production of free radicals is stress, junk food, sleep deprivation, and ironically lack of exercise although exercise produces free radicals…its a kind of love hate situation! The amount of free radicals produced seems to be more than offset by the advantages of exercise.
The free radicals are reactive molecules...typically result of energy production in mitochondria that produce over 90% of energy currents in the body or ATP (adenosine triphosphate).. but the thinking to just suppress and offset with antioxidants maybe is not completely wise…Some free radical production seems to actually be a plus. Mediterranean Red Wine Myth!
But generally speaking hormesis which is the taking of low doses of something that is otherwise toxic or even lethal may be a good health principle! Usually this applies to anti oxidants from food such as vegetables and fruit containing multi polyphenols…designed by the plant to ward off pests and predators. But humans, being larger, and from evolution adaptation, have harnessed the advantages of small doses translating into hormesis. This concept to some degree may apply to free radicals…to a degree! Mitochondrial dysfunction thus is actually improved! Resveratrol from the Japanese Knotweed root is the ultimate but use somewhat sparingly..say once or twice a week!
Besides Resveratrol…the anti oxidants I pay attention to are Lipid soluble Vitamin E A and beta carotene and Astaxanthin…all important for toxins from fat burning! and Water Soluble such as vitamin C glutathione and catechins and the Vitamin B complex. and contentiously resveratrol. which often is called fat soluble! maybe a bit of both! Mediterranean Red Wine Myth!