Red, red wine you make me feel so fine
You keep me rocking all of the time
Red, red wine you make me feel so grand
I feel a million dollars when you’re just in my hand
So begins the chorus of UB40’s now-famous reggae remix of Neil Diamond’s 1967 folk ballad, “Red Red Wine,” extolling the virtues of the fruit of the vine as solace for a broken heart. Well, it turns out that this heartbreak remedy may have actual health benefits for inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma and COPD.
An article in RT Magazine, citing a study by researchers at Georgia State University and published in the online journal Scientific Reports, indicates that a “component of red wine and grapes can help control inflammation induced by a bacterial pathogen that is linked to upper respiratory tract inflammatory diseases such as asthma, COPD and middle ear infection (otitis media).” The component is resveratrol. According to RT Magazine, the research identifies a “novel mechanism that resveratrol, a compound found naturally in some plant foods such as grapes, uses to alleviate inflammation in airway disease. The results suggest this compound could offer health benefits and be used to develop new, effective anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents.”
Even though much is left to discover, Dr. Jian-Dong Li, one of the study’s senior authors, lauded resveratrol’s benefits: “It has been shown that resveratrol can suppress inflammation, but how it regulates inflammation still remains largely unknown. We found that resveratrol suppresses a major bacterial pathogen causing otitis media and COPD by upregulating or increasing the production of a negative regulator called MyD88 short.” Dr. Li added that the findings “help us to shed light on developing new therapeutic strategies by targeting or pharmacologically upregulating MyD88 short production. We could use resveratrol to suppress inflammation or develop resveratrol derivatives that could be pharmacological agents to suppress inflammation using the same strategy.”
While the inebriating aspects of wine should certainly be tempered—and I want to state emphatically that I in no way condone public drunkenness—perhaps the good doctor is on to something.