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Red wine ingredient does not help people live longer, study

The "French paradox" - the claim that people who drink red wine live longer -  remains a mystery after a study has found that the antioxydant resveratrol has no magical effects on human health.

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In a recent study researchers found that resveratrol - a polyphenol found in red wine - is not the miracle ingredient that explains the "French paradox", which appears to show that regular red wine drinkers can somehow avoid the pitfalls of a high-fat diet.

Nor does it help to avoid cancer or heart disease, the  American study found.

Based on resveratrol measures of 800 people in two villages in the Italian region of Tuscany, where Chianti wine is produced, it revealed that those with high levels of resveratrol did not live longer, nor did they have fewer cardiovascular diseases.

Earlier tests on mice appeared to show high levels of resveratrol had strong anti-inflammatory effects and incrfeased longevity.

Those findings have contributed to developing a market for human resveratrol supplements all over the world, which is worth 30 million euros per year in the US alone.

Despite the negative results from the latest research, studies show that the consumption of red wine, chocolate and berries reduces inflammation in some subjects and has positive effects on the heart.

"Those beneficial effects should come from others polyphenols found in wine or food," said the study's main author, Richard Semba of Baltimore University. "We are dealing with complex food molecules but what we can say from our study is that resveratrol is probably not responsible for these beneficial health effects."

"Studies now focus on other polyphenols," said coauthor Luigi Ferrucci, pointing out that a glass and a half of red wine per day reduces cardiovascular risks.  

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