How many times have you heard someone joke about “getting their resveratrol” as they pour a second – or third – glass of wine? It’s an old joke… but I still hear it all the time at dinner parties.
What makes this joke sad is the drinkers are getting the exact opposite result they would with a resveratrol supplement. New research shows alcohol ages your body at the cellular level.
And there’s such a tiny amount of resveratrol in a glass of red wine, you’d probably have to drink gallons of it to offset the damage of a single glass.
Moderate alcohol intake may have a few health benefits, but a new study suggests you’ll be better off avoiding the stuff altogether.
Alcohol Speeds Up Your Cellular “Aging Clock”
Inside your cells, your chromosomes contain your genetic code. The DNA that makes you, you. Every time a cell divides, it makes a copy of this code. And each division wears down a bit of your chromosomes’ protective ends called telomeres.
At a certain point, the telomeres wear down too much. They can no longer protect your genetic code. So, to protect you from badly copied DNA, that cells stops dividing, falls “silent,” and eventually dies. That’s a big part of the aging process.
The longer your telomeres, the more times your cells can divide. Which gives those cells a longer life. And keeps your body acting younger longer.
According to new research from the Research Society on Alcoholism, the more you drink, the shorter your telomeres will be. Which means your cells have fewer divisions left before they shut down.
Japanese doctors compared 134 alcoholics to 121 non-alcoholic adults for this study. The subjects ranged in age from 41 to 85. In aged-matched comparisons, alcohol was clearly linked to shorter telomeres.
Shorter telomeres are also linked to age-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. So cutting back on alcohol – or cutting it out altogether – is an easy way to slow the aging process.
But it’s not the only way doctors have recently confirmed.
Maybe the Gym Rats Were Right After All
University scientists in Finland recently explored the connection between brain and brawn. And they found physical strength is closely tied to staying mentally sharp.
The researchers studied 338 adults, averaging 66 years old. They tested their subjects’ strength three ways.
First, they tested handgrip strength. Studies often use this simple measure to compare volunteers’ physical strength. But the Finnish researchers also measured their subjects on three lower-body exercises and two upper-body exercises.
They discovered handgrip strength didn’t accurately reflect cognitive function. In other words, grip strength didn’t relate to memory or information processing abilities.
But overall upper or lower body strength did. The study showed adults with greater upper or lower body strength were linked to better cognitive functioning.
What does this mean to you? It means adding strength training to your weekly activity may help you keep your mind and memory sharper.
What it doesn’t mean is you have to start going to the gym. Any exercise that builds muscle will do – including isometrics, dumbbells, or classic exercises like pushups and crunches.
Adding 20 minutes of strength training three times a week should be enough. If you cut down on alcohol at the same time, you’ll have taken two giant steps towards putting the brakes on aging.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
“Drinking Makes You Older at the Cellular Level,” Research Society on Alcoholism via Newswise.com. Jun 19, 2017.
“Greater muscle strength – better cognitive function for older people,” University of Eastern Finland. May 11, 2017.
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