IT TURNS out a glass of red wine really is good for you – as long as you’re a woman.
According to a new study by the University of Newcastle Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, a small dose of resveratrol – a natural substance found in grapes, berries and red wine – can boost cognitive performance in postmenopausal women and also alleviate symptoms of chronic pain.
The initial results of the study, announced by the Hunter Medical Research Institute on Thursday, showed postmenopausal women in a clinical trial were capable of better brain functionality and a lowering of chronic pain in conditions such as osteoporosis.
Head of the program, Dr Rachel Wong, said the results of the preliminary trial “exceeded expectations”, and explained the notable difference between the 80 volunteers who took resveratrol compared with those who didn’t.
“Compared with those on placebo, women taking two 75mg capsules of resveratrol daily experienced improvements not only in cognitive performance but across a range of mood indicators,” she said.
“Moreover, their feelings of pain were reduced and these benefits were linked to improved brain blood flow.”
Dr Wong said resveratrol acted “like oestrogen” – the female hormone that declines after menopause – knowledge which prompted the trial.
“Considering that elderly women are known to exhibit higher dementia prevalence and severity than men, and that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with cerebrovascular diseases affecting blood flow in the brain, we wanted to see if we could improve cognitive performance postmenopausally,” she said.
CNRC director Professor Peter Howe said a “unique hypothesis” for the results could be that resveratrol improves blood flow to the brain during mental activation. He said it was an “indirect” benefit.
The team will undertake a larger two-year study. It aims to enrol 170 women aged between 45 and 85. To enrol, phone 4921 8616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.