London: Health benefits associated with red wine and chocolate may be exaggerated, according to a new study which found no proof that the antioxidant resveratrol stops heart disease or prolongs life.
Professor Richard Semba, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues found that the antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine, chocolate and grapes was not associated with longevity or the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammation.
For the study, researchers studied 783 elderly people in two small towns in Tuscany.
The volunteers gave details about their daily diets as well as urine samples for measurement of their resveratrol intake.
During the nine years of the study, 268 of the men and women died, 174 developed heart disease and 34 got cancer.
But urinary resveratrol was not linked with death risk, heart disease risk or cancer risk, researchers found. It was not associated with any markers of inflammation in the blood.
“In conclusion, this prospective study of nearly 800 older community-dwelling adults shows no association between urinary resveratrol metabolites and longevity,” the authors wrote in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
“This study suggests that dietary resveratrol from Western diets in community-dwelling older adults does not have a substantial influence on inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or longevity,” they wrote.
“The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn’t find that at all. The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time,” Semba was quoted as saying by ‘BBC News’.
Semba said that any benefits of drinking wine or eating dark chocolate or berries, if they are there, must come from other shared ingredients.
“These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol,” he said.