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Study Hall: Resveratrol could increase exercise endurance

For Study Hall each week, we sort through the deluge of new medical studies and wordy white papers to bring you one that deserves your attention—in plain, healthy English.


Good news: An occasional glass of Cabernet may give your summer race training a boost. According to a new study published in the Journal of Physiology, the powerful antioxidant resveratrol that’s found in the skin of grapes (and therefore wine), as well as blueberries and peanuts, may boost endurance capacity.

The study: Past studies have shown that resveratrol has positive effects on the body that are similar to the effects of continued exercise, such as improved heart health and muscle function. So, researchers at the University of Alberta set out to determine if resveratrol supplementation paired with exercise would increase the benefits of exercise alone. For 12 weeks, they fed 50 rats a diet—either with or or without resveratrol supplements. Half the rats ran for an hour per day, while the others did not.

The results: After three months, the rats that exercised had 25 percent better endurance than sedentary rats. But the rats that took resveratrol supplements and exercised performed 20 percent better than all the others.

What it means: Research is tapping more and more healthy powers of antioxidants every day, which is just one more (of a million) reasons to make colorful fruits and veggies the centerpiece of your diet. And if anyone asks about that glass of wine in hand, tell them it’s part of your marathon training.  —Allison Becker