Scientists discover new health-enhancing molecules in red wine

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  • Thursday 15 August 2013

Scientists studying the chemical structure of red wine are hailing a new discovery which could provide more conclusive proof of the benefits of drinking wine in moderation.

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Chemists from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Canada have discovered 23 new and potentially health-enhancing molecules in red wine, which they think could lead to medical breakthroughs in the future.

The team of scientists expected to find molecules called stilbenoids – said to provide health benefits – in the red wine, but were surprised to discover no fewer than 41 stilbenoid compounds, 23 of which have never been found in red wine before.

‘These new molecules are likely to have very interesting biological properties and may contribute to the benefits from drinking red wine,’ said Assoc Prof Cédric Saucier.

Prof Saucier, who runs the enology laboratory at UBC’s Okanagan campus, made the discovery in partnership with researchers from Australia’s University of Adelaide and UBC graduate student Ryan Moss.

‘Who knows where this could lead? Perhaps new drugs and medicine for the future?’ he added.

The discovery was made by concentrating red wine extract and separating the compounds so that the researchers could examine and create a fingerprint of each one individually.

The 23 newly discovered molecules are related to resveratrol, a chemical found naturally in the skin of red grapes and known to have a potential impact on age-related human diseases.

Now the scientists say they face ‘many more years’ of research, analysing and assessing each of the new stilbenoid compounds.

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