Dear Health-conscious Friend,
Studies Shine New Light on Popular Anti-aging Drinks
If I’ve learned one thing as a doctor, it’s that all of science is open to question. Today’s absolute fact is often tomorrow’s old wives tale. For instance, scientists once believed the Sun revolved around the Earth, and not vice-versa.
Anti-aging is a fairly new science. We aren’t even certain of all the factors that cause aging at this point. So it’s no surprise that we may have to adjust what we thought we knew about two popular anti-aging drinks.
New research suggests the common wisdom about wine’s heart-health effects may be a little off. But first, let’s look at news about another drink often linked to anti-aging benefits.
Tea is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Green tea is especially popular with health-conscious folks. And it appears to have many benefits… but one of them may not be cutting your risk of heart trouble.
A French study of 131,000 adults suggests tea’s antioxidants may not offer big heart-health benefits. But it also hints at two other anti-aging advantages.
First, if you’re a coffee drinker, you may benefit from switching to tea. The study found that coffee drinkers have a higher risk of death from heart problems than tea drinkers… though the benefit was small.
But tea really shines when it comes to risk of death not related to heart trouble. The study found a 24% drop in risk between tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers. But only for current and former smokers. 1
This study isn’t the final word on tea by any means, but it does suggest it may not have all the anti-aging benefits we once thought.
A second study, presented at a large European heart conference, questions the heart-health benefits of wine. But this study is of limited value, since it only looked at wine’s effects on cholesterol levels.
The study looked at the effect of drinking wine – about 6 ounces for women and 10 ounces for men – a few times a week.
Over a year, red wine drinkers showed a small drop in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. But neither red nor white wine was linked to higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Except in one group.
After a year, people who began to exercise at least two days a week had both lower LDL levels and higher HDL levels.2
Since exercise alone can have the same effect, I’m not sure the study proved much. Except drinking a little wine may not have much effect on cholesterol levels. And cholesterol is only one of many factors linked to heart health.
Fortunately, there’s another anti-aging option for your heart. It’s a popular nutritional supplement.
Resveratrol has many proven heart-healthy benefits, including…
- Inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. (Oxidized LDL is the form of cholesterol most closely linked to clogged arteries.)
- Promoting healthy blood flow by helping arteries stay more flexible.
- Discouraging dangerous “clumping” of blood cells, which can block blood flow.
Resveratrol may also have other anti-aging benefits by acting on SIRT1 – the so-called “longevity gene.”
With all its proven benefits, it’s worth drinking tea on a regular basis. And I don’t see this limited study as a reason to give up wine. But you can hedge your bets by adding resveratrol to your daily supplement list.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
1 “Drinking tea reduces non-CV mortality by 24 percent,” European Society of Cardiology. Aug 31, 2014.
2 “Wine only protects against CVD in people who exercise,” European Society of Cardiology. Aug 31, 2014.
3 Das. M. and Das, D.K., “Resveratrol and cardiovascular health,” Mol Aspects Med. Dec 2010; 31(6): 503-512.