Red Wine Could Become the Toast of the Milky Way

With Bordeaux pricing becoming astronomical this recent piece of news caught my eye and made me smile. Apparently red wine could become the toast of the Milky Way according to Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the journal Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).

A new research study published in the FASEB Journal, suggests that:

“The “healthy” ingredient in red wine, resveratrol, may prevent the negative effects that space flight and sedentary lifestyles have on people.

The report describes experiments in rats that simulated the weightlessness of space flight, during which the group fed resveratrol did not develop insulin resistance or a loss of bone mineral density, as did those who were not fed resveratrol.

There are overwhelming data showing that the human body needs physical activity, but for some of us, getting that activity isn’t easy. A low gravity environment makes it nearly impossible for astronauts.

For the earthbound, barriers to physical activity are equally challenging, whether they be disease, injury, or a desk job. Resveratrol may not be a substitute for exercise, but it could slow deterioration until someone can get moving again.”

Scientists studied rats that underwent simulated weightlessness by hindlimb tail suspension and were given a daily oral load of resveratrol.

The control group showed a decrease in soleus muscle mass and strength, the development of insulin resistance, and a loss of bone mineral density and resistance to breakage.

The group receiving resveratrol showed none of these complications. Study results further demonstrated some of the underlying mechanisms by which resveratrol acts to prevent the wasting adaptations to disuse-induced mechanical unloading.

This study also suggests that resveratrol may be able to prevent the deleterious consequences of sedentary behaviours in humans.

“If resveratrol supplements are not your cup of tea,”said Weissmann, “then there’s good news. You can find it naturally in red wine, making it the toast of the Milky Way”.

I suppose if NASA relaxed their no alcohol policy in space astronauts could bypass taking a resveratrol pill and enjoy a glass of wine instead.

Back in 2006 the Telegraph reported that Russian cosmonauts would be able to unwind with a drink after a hard day at the International Space Station (small amounts of alcohol were apparently allowed on the Soviet space station Mir).

Yuri Lanchakov, commander of the Cosmonaut Corps at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, told the Sunday Telegraph: “Twenty grams of a good cognac [about one pub measure] would be good.” He intended to issue a tot to anyone returning after a space walk, and to allow astronauts to drink alcohol to toast New Year.

Champagne, however, is off limits because the pressure could turn bottles into small missiles if opened in the gravity-free atmosphere of the space station.

I am pretty sure that alcohol is banned on the International Space Station but I wonder if wine could be drunk in space what wine it would be? Mayu perhaps (Mayu is the ancient Inca name for the Milky Way constellation), Cuvée d’Etoiles or Chateau Picard Vintage 2267, courtesy of Star Trek? Any suggestions?

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