Over the past week, low levels of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan began reaching the western United States. Despite heavy news coverage, the U.S. has largely avoided the panic-buying seen in other countries of items like salt, seaweed, and … red wine.
Given the short supply of iodine pills, people around the world concerned about radioactive fallout have been buying up other products rumored to protect against radiation. Although the run on salt in China was misguided (an adult would need to swallow over 6 lbs. of it to prevent radiation poisoning), consumers in Russia stocking up on wine were on to something.
As it turns out, several studies indicate that red wine does indeed provide some defense against radiation. The antioxidant Resveratrol may help mitigate the harmful effects of radiation exposure, in addition to its purported roles in cancer prevention and increased longevity.
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Do you know anyone who gets itchy or sniffley after a glass of wine? About 8% of people experience unfortunate side effects like congestion, a skin rash, or a headache with wine. Sulfites added to assist preservation are often blamed, but recent research suggests that other compounds may, in fact, be responsible.
According to a study published by researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, the glycoproteins (protein molecules with sugars attached) produced during fermentation may be the culprit. They found that at a molecular level these proteins closely resembled several known allergens. Specifically, they were very similar to proteins found in ragweed that cause hay fever as well as other allergens present in olives, latex, and pears.
The study analyzed just one type of Italian Chardonnay, so it’s unclear how broadly applicable these results are. However, similar proteins are likely found in most wines. This knowledge may enable to someday make hypoallergenic wines by developing techniques that limit the formation of the offending glycoproteins.
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A glass of wine with a dinner while in the hospital? Recently, one hospital in Indiana has gained attention for allowing patients just that.
Patients at Parkview Ortho Hospital can bring their own wine to have with dinner. Administrators hope this will brighten their stays and improve overall satisfaction. Although a hospital spokesman emphasized that this is not, “a technique or selling point to attract consumers to Parkview hospitals,” the move is indicative of the healthcare industry’s increased focus on improving the patient experience.
While covering the story, NPR’s health blog Shots investigated the policies at a number of hospitals and reported that allowing admitted patients alcohol is not as uncommon as one might expect. They learned from the Association for Healthcare Foodservice that many healthcare facilities actually “stock beer, wine, and even liquor to dispense to patients with their physicians’ blessing.”
That last part of the quote is key – mixing alcohol and certain prescription drugs, particularly the narcotics frequently prescribed to post-op patients staying in the hospital, can be very dangerous.
Over the past decade, red wine has gained wide recognition as part of a healthy lifestyle. Proponents suggest that a glass a day can have far reaching health benefits. Everything from improved heart health, lower cholesterol, cancer prevention , and weight control have been associated with red wine.
Although the jury is still out on exactly how much of an advantage red wine offers (perhaps a topic for a later post), several nutritional supplements purport to provide many of the same benefits in tablet form.
I just caught a press release from “Vindure 900,” which contains Quercetin and Resveratrol – two key antioxidants found in red wine. The company claims that a single tablets has as much Resveratrol as 100 bottles of wine! On its impressive website, Vinomis Laboratories explains that these compounds are “two of the most potent activators of the SIRT genes responsible for longevity.” Researchers believe that the SIRT genes promote longevity by increasing cells’ lifespans and limiting the number of harmful mutations that they accumulate.
Now, why anyone would pass up their daily glass of wine in favor of a pill is beyond me. In theory, though, these pills may benefit individuals seeking red wine’s advantages without the alcohol or calories.
Have any of you taken Quercetin or Resveratrol supplements? Let us know in the comments. You can also order a free sample of Vindure 900and report back!