Red wine can add "protects the brain from damage following a stroke" to its list of health benefits following a new discovery by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
On April 21, Johns Hopkins announced that Sylvain Doré, PhD and a team of researchers "discovered a pathway in mice for resveratrol's apparent protective effect".
Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in red grapes' skins and seeds and Doré recommended not taking resveratrol supplements as the benefits are unknown and pointed out that "it's the alcohol in the wine that may be needed to concentrate the amounts of the beneficial compound" and highlights mild-moderate consumption as "drinking alcohol carries risks along with potential benefits."
The mechanism of action is not clear but "resveratrol itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, resveratrol, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves," suggested Doré.
He speculated that, "it's not likely that brain cells can have high enough local levels of resveratrol to be protective," as "resveratrol is needed to jump-start this protective enzymatic system that is already present within the cells" however "even a small amount may be sufficient."
The study is currently in press but can be accessed in the online edition of the journal Experiment Neurology: http://bit.ly/8ZnKJy