- The polyphenols in red wine grape extract, or wine in powder form, are showing promise for enhancing brain and gut health beyond their already established cardiovascular benefits, according to NutraIngredients-USA.
- More research needs to be done on the many phenolic compounds found in red wine so their benefits to human health can be identified and better understood.
- Polyphenolics of Madera, California, a division of Constellation Brands, is now going beyond earlier research on grape seeds and looking at the juice of red grapes to find and unlock potential synergies. "There are some studies that have suggested there can be synergies around some of these phenolic classes. But we haven’t done the clinical work to prove that there is that synergy," Polyphenolics CEO James Kennedy told NutraIngredients-USA.
Studies on resveratrol, the biologically active component found in the skins of red wine grapes, have suggested it can aid memory and help slow the progress of Alzheimer's, although there are limits to its efficacy. The levels found in red wine are so low that a person would have to drink 1,000 bottles to get enough, and the equivalent dose has caused unpleasant side effects.
Other research has tried to synthesize resveratrol to avoid some of the problems, with the thinking that isolating it might be the answer. Scientists also have theorized that there could be more benefits to consuming the component in alcohol form rather than on its own. Still others say that any alcohol in moderation carries certain benefits regardless of whether it's contained in wine, beer or spirits.
Moderate red wine consumption has been associated with prolonging life and protecting against heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. Researchers say they are close to developing a pill that contains the benefits of the alcoholic drink but without the problems associated with alcohol consumption. However, earlier research by phamaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to develop an anti-aging pill stalled out when it became clear that the process would be long, difficult and expensive.
A 2015 Georgetown University study also found that participants given study a high-dose resveratrol, about one gram twice a day, or the equivalent of 1,000 bottles of red wine, could slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, but many experienced gastrointestinal-related side effects, including nausea and diarrhea.
This is a complex area of scientific study, and some research results have been disappointing or contradictory. It seems that exactly how the components in red wine grapes enhance human health — either in wine form or as seeds or juice — remains a mystery that continues to elude scientists.
Until these mechanisms are better understood, it may be wise for beverage companies to avoid overinflated advertising strategies involving red wine and its beneficial components. And for those who want to avoid the problems inherent in excess alcohol consumption, it might be best to stick to one daily glass, or consider the powder form or supplements instead.