Fight wrinkles the fun way: Scientists discover the antioxidants in red wine and chocolate rejuvenate old cells
02/12/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Your skin also ages as you get older. Luckily, researchers have found a new way to fight skin aging. The study, conducted by researchers from Exeter University and supported by scientists at Brighton University, reveals that drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate help in fighting skin aging and wrinkles.

In the study, the researchers found a way to rejuvenate inactive aging cells by applying compounds known as resveratrol to the cells in a laboratory. These chemicals can be naturally found in red wine, dark chocolate, red grapes, and blueberries. Results showed that within only a few hours, aging cells began to rejuvenate, acting like younger cells and splitting. The cells had longer telomeres, which are the 'caps' on the chromosomes that shorten as we age.

“This demonstrates that when you treat old cells with molecules that restore the levels of the splicing factors, the cells regain some features of youth,” said Lorna Harries, lead researcher of the study.

The findings of this study support the earlier study of the Exeter group which revealed that a class of genes known as splicing factors are steadily switched off as we get older. Splicing factors play a major role in ensuring the functioning of genes in their full extent. As people get older, these genes either work less efficiently or they do not work at all. Moreover, the findings contribute to the development and discovery of new therapies that could help people age better. However, the researchers also noted that more research is needed to confirm their findings to address the degenerative effects of aging.


“This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life. Our data suggests that using chemicals to switch back on the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells,” explained Harries.

Research associate Eva Latorre, who conducted the experiments, was surprised with the results and even conducted the experiments multiple times to see if she would get the same results.

“When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating, I couldn't believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells,” she said. “I repeated the experiments several times and in each case the cells rejuvenated.”

The study was published in the journal BMC Cell Biology and was funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust.

More anti-aging effects of red wine and dark chocolate

Aside from fighting wrinkles, resveratrol had been found to aid in the cognition of a person. A previous study published in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered that resveratrol may help boost memory. In the study, researchers from Germany conducted an experiment on 46 overweight but healthy adults who were 50 to 70 years old. They gave half of the participants resveratrol supplements and the remaining half a placebo for six months. Results showed that those who took resveratrol remembered more words on a list that were shown to them within 30 minutes compared to the individuals who took a placebo. Furthermore, they found that the resveratrol group displayed more connection among brain regions involved in memory. (Related: Resveratrol Has Anti-aging and Anti-Cancer Properties, Linked to Cardiovascular Health.)

“From a clinical point of view, our findings suggest that regular, high-level intake of resveratrol in the elderly may convey protective effects on cognitive functions, a hypothesis that now need to be evaluated in large-scale clinicals,” said Veronica Witte, a neuroscientist at the Charité– Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany.

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