Age Gets Better With Wine, New Science For A Better & Longer Life, 2nd Edition by Richard A. Baxter M.D.
Age Gets Better With Wine starts with an interesting look at consumption of wine through history.
Richard A. Baxter, M.D. searching for keys to longevity with quality, and wanting to separate the scientifically sound wheat from the quackery inspired chaff, surveyed medical literature and eliminated everything that wasn’t rooted in legitimate research to see what remained. Baxter found wine was one of the answers to longevity and healthy living.
Baxter outline the science of aging and the perils of disease and degeneration, and the countering effects of antioxidants. Wine possesses powerful antioxidant qualities.
Vitamin supplements, herbal supplements and natural cures show scant, if any, evidence that they will help you live longer, prevent cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, or measurable improve life quality in any measurable way.
Age Gets Better With Wine holds that wine is a food, and as part of a healthy diet has healthful benefits.
Baxter diplomatically demonstrates a prejudice against information concerning healthful consumption of alcohol. In 1974, presented with evidence of decreased cardiovascular disease among moderate alcohol consumers, the National Institutes of Health demanded censorship of the 25 year Framingham Heart Study.
In the 30 intervening years, numerous studies have consistently confirmed and clarified the Framingham Heart Study results, and expanded the health benefits to conditions beyond originally reported – “the overall risk of death from all causes is significantly lower in moderate drinkers as compared to abstainers and to heavy drinkers.”
When plotted on a graph, the benefits of moderate consumption fit what is known as a “J-shaped curve.” The graph starts with an odds ratio of 1.0 for abstainers, whether looking at cardiovascular disease, or overall mortality, then dips to below 1.0 for moderate consumption before climbing above 1.0 for abusive consumption. Typically, the best health benefit is achieved by the consumption of between 1-3 glasses of wine.
Countries with higher rates of wine consumption had lower mortality rates than countries with lower levels of wine consumption.
While alcohol consumption, generally, created a J-shaped curve when lotting the relative risk of all cause mortality against alcohol consumed, not all alcohol was the same. Wine consumption produced the lowest dips, the greatest measured health benefit, of all alcohol; greater than beer or spirits.
Wine has polyphenols, other alcohols do not. Polyphenols are the aromatic molecules that give wine the nose of bouquet and aroma. Polyphenols are also powerful antioxidants. Most polyphenols are concentrated in the grape skin; since red wines are made red by allowing the crushed skins to ferment with the juice, coloring the juice red, red wines also have higher concentrations of polyphenols.
The antioxidant properties of wine polyphenols lead to enhanced wound healing, anti cancer effects, kidney protection, lowered cataract risk, decreases cardiac risk, and improves cardiac event survival.
The most well known polyphenol is resveratrol. Resveratrol holds great promise in aiding the body fight the effects of age, and it has been isolated and made available, separate from wine, in pill form.
With thousands of prestigious institutions publishing the results of research on the health benefits of wine, there does not exist the same evidence that isolated beneficial compounds can be captured and delivered in pill form with any efficacy.
About resveratrol, Baxter writes, “The benefits of wine aren’t attributable to a single molecule out of the thousands, and out of the context of a meal. An analogous account is the surprising finding that taking vitamin supplements may actually do more harm than good, a consensus view among experts now. It just isn’t the same thing as eating whole foods and drinking real wine.”
Resveratrol seems to be the super polyphenol, fighting aging, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and even decreases “hot flashes” in menopausal women.
Stressing again the differences between moderate consumption and abuse, and general alcohol consumption and wine consumption, Baxter lists 13 anti cancer properties of wine polyphenols.
A fun fact, for wine drinkers anyway, is that researchers found wine drinkers had a 30 pint higher IQ than beer or spirits drinkers.
Baxter reports there is an emerging consensus that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease may be reduced by up to 80% by regular consumption of a glass or two of red wine with dinner.
Age Gets Better With Wine is an important book, researched and referenced, on the general benefits of healthy drinking;Richard A. Baxter, M.D. has written the definitive book on the specific anti aging properties contained in wine.
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DISCLOSURE: I received a sample copy of Age Gets Better With Wine for review from The Wine Appreciation Guild.