Can Red Wine Make That Desk Job Healthier?

Red Wine Fans of red wine have yet one more reason to keep popping those corks. Resveratrol, the much-publicized ingredient in red wine that seemingly helps improve health, may prevent negative effects that accompanies sedentary lifestyles, a new study shows.

Experiments with rats that simulated the weightlessness of spaceflight (which mimics sedentary lifestyles because of the lack of gravity) showed that the group fed resveratrol supplements didn't develop insulin resistance or a loss of bone mineral density, unlike those that weren't fed resveratrol. That was according to research recently published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The experiment involved simulating weightlessness by suspending rats by their tails. One group was given a daily, oral dose of resveratrol, while others weren't. Those not given the supplement showed decreases in muscle tissue and strength, a loss of bone density and resistance to breakage and developed insulin resistance.

The rats given resveratrol showed none of the symptoms, leading researchers to believe that the supplement may be able to help offset the negative effects of a couch-potato lifestyle.

Data overwhelmingly show that the human body requires regular exercise, but for many that isn't easy to achieve -- including astronauts working in the weightlessness of space, says Dr. Gerald Weissmann, the publication's editor-in-chief.

"For the earthbound, barriers to physical activity are equally challenging, whether they be disease, injury or a desk job," he says, adding that while resveratrol may not be a substitute for exercise, "it could slow deterioration until someone can get moving again."

One other benefit noted by Weissmann is that resveratrol needn't be taken in pill form to get the possible health benefits. "There's good news," he says. "You can find it naturally in red wine."

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