Thursday, November 02, 2006
Resveratrol, since you ask, is the chemical in red wine which is thought to explain the French Paradox. The French eat far too much red meat and yet have relatively low rates of heart disease, making this not so much a Paradox as an Irritation. Resveratrol, it was decided, was the answer as it appears to protect the heart. Now, it seems, it offsets the effects of over-eating. It also makes one fatally attractive, though this may be something to do with the half bottle of rouge one has just consumed in one gulp in an attempt to dislodge arterial plaques without actually having to exercise, stop eating or, indeed, stand up. This, for the life extensionists I met while writing my book about the pursuit of immortality, was a problem as they were as convinced that drinking was a Bad Thing as they were that resveratrol was a Good Thing. Naturally, therefore, they sucked all the fun out of it by making resveratrol tablets. So the rest of us can drink red wine in the happy conviction that it is doing us good then? No. You have to drink a lot to get enough resveratrol fully to benefit and drinking a lot does indeed kill you as the Finns have discovered. Alcohol kills more Finnish males than anything else. As ever, science leaves us more or less back where we started - uncertain, alone and, as a result, drunk.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:09 am