Researchers have already discovered a number of interesting health benefits from resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes and in red wines, but new research suggests that it might also aid basic thinking, reasoning, and cognition. This is in addition to previous research finding that moderate amounts of wine every day may inhibit the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Resveratrol is a chemical which more and more medical researchers are studying because it seems to have lots of positive health benefits. Unfortunately for wine drinkers, you have to drink a lot of wine to get very much resveratrol; fortunately for everyone else, though, wine isn't the only place where natural resveratrol can be found.
Researchers at Northumbria University gave 24 people a series of arithmetic tests while blood flow to their brains was monitored. Before testing, they were given 500mg or 1000mg of resveratrol or a placebo. Those who had been given resveratrol showed significant changes in brain flow and improved performance on the tests. Additional tests will seek to discover the optimal dose needed for reveratrol’s brain-boosting effects.
An earlier study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that moderate amounts of wine—five to ten ounces daily—might slow the accumulation of amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Other tests have shown that resveratrol lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing the levels of “good” cholesterol, and also fights cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Red wines can have a little as 2 and as much as 12 milligrams of resveratrol per liter. So to get 500mg of resveratrol, you may have to drink as much as 250 liters of wine — about two barrels, depending on where you are getting the barrels. That much wine would probably kill you, or at least most of your brain, before any positive cognition effects can kick in.
On the other hand, what are the effects of regular doses of small amounts of resveratrol? Perhaps we can achieve improved overall cognition abilities with small to moderate amounts of resveratrol taken daily? A high-dose pill of resveratrol might be nice just before an exam, but how much am I gaining by regular, smaller doses of resveratrol in my food?
Of course, you don't need to drink red wine to get resveratrol because this chemical is also found in some berries (blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries) as well as peanuts. The amounts in those products are very small, too, unfortunately — I don't want to think about how many peanuts I'd have to eat in order to get a high dose of resveratrol.