Red wine drinkers are generally good-natured people and known for mastering life with pleasure and relaxation. These alone are two protective factors against dementia, because stress is poison for the brain (but more about this later on). In addition, a secondary plant substance present particularly in red wine is increasingly attracting the interest of research and prevention in Alzheimer’s disease: resveratrol.

Resveratrol has numerous biological and pharmacological protective effects and became well-known back in the mid-1990s in connection with the ‘French Paradox’. It stands for the observation that French people live longer than Germans and Americans despite their supposedly unhealthier lifestyle, especially because of their higher alcohol consumption, and that the frequency of heart attacks in France is three times lower than in the USA. In the following years, resveratrol became the focus of research and showed anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cancer-inhibiting, heart protecting and life-prolonging properties in numerous test models both in vitro and in vivo and was considered a new miracle cure.

Resveratrol and Alzheimer

The first indications that resveratrol could also be responsible for the protective effect of red wine in Alzheimer patients were shown by epidemiological studies conducted by a French research group in 1997, which showed an inverse correlation between moderate wine consumption and the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease: in the group of moderate wine drinkers (250 – 500 ml per day) the risk of dementia was reduced by a factor of 5.

It showed that resveratrol not only unfolds its positive effects in a single way, but also has a multi-mechanistic effect. It has a beneficial effect on various processes, all of which play a decisive role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. reduction of amyloid plaques 
  2. reduction of neurofibrillary tangles 
  3. regulatory role in autophagy processes 
  4. anti-inflammatory effect 
  5. antioxidant effects

Detailed explanations on these topics can be found on the page: Resveratrol

Clinical studies

Based on these convincing results, the therapeutic potential of resveratrol in Alzheimer’s patients is currently being tested in clinical trials. Two recent pilot studies have shown that resveratrol can easily cross the blood-brain barrier in humans and penetrate brain tissue – as it has been detected in cerebrospinal fluid. Resveratrol was well tolerated by all volunteers and had no side effects up to a dose of 5 grams per day. Both double-blind studies show evidence of positive effects of resveratrol in humans. 

In addition, resveratrol is already part of the multifactorial approach of the American neurologist Dale Bredesen, who, with his therapy known as ‘ReCode’ (Reversal of Cognitive Decline), has managed to clinically reverse Alzheimer’s courses in early stages (see also the interview with Dr. Bredesen in the media library).

Conclusion:
Whether fed with a glass of red wine in the evening or by other non-alcoholic means – but preferably from natural sources – the secondary plant substance resveratrol appears to be responsible for protective effects in the development of dementia due to its diverse mechanisms of action. It could therefore be a promising preventive and possibly therapeutic approach in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

In this sense: treat yourself to a glass of red wine or grape juice in the evening and enjoy life. Your grey cells will be grateful!

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