Nav: Home

Drinking red wine on the red planet

July 18, 2019

BOSTON - You may remember Tang - the sugar-sweetened orange-flavored drink mix - as the official beverage of the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon fifty years ago this month. But, according to a new report published in Frontiers in Physiology, the first men and women who set foot on Mars might be better off choosing a nice merlot.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have demonstrated that resveratrol - a naturally occurring ingredient in grapes and blueberries - can preserve muscle function and mitigate muscle atrophy under conditions that mimic the gravity on Mars - which is about 40 percent as strong as that experienced on Earth. The team's findings suggest that supplementing future astronauts' diets with resveratrol could help maintain their musculoskeletal health even on a long-term mission to Mars.

"Resveratrol has been extensively studied for its health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-diabetic effects," said senior author Seward B. Rutkove, MD, Chief of the Division of Neuromuscular Disease in the Department of Neurology at BIDMC. "Resveratrol has also been shown to preserve bone and muscle loss, however there's a lack of research regarding its effects on the musculoskeletal system in partial gravity. We hypothesized that a moderate daily dose would help mitigate muscle deconditioning under conditions that replicate the partial gravity on Mars."

Muscle atrophy is an almost immediate consequence and one of the most serious side effects of spaceflight. Studies of crews over the last fifty years of manned spaceflight reveal that astronauts can lose up to 20 percent of their muscle mass in less than two weeks in microgravity. To prevent this muscle decomposition, astronauts living and working in aboard the International Space Station for extended missions exercise several hours each day. Yet, most return to Earth in a weakened state, requiring months of post-flight rehabilitation. The first humans landing on an alien world will ideally arrive in better shape. In addition to physical training, could a dietary supplement help preserve muscle mass during their mission to Mars?

To test that idea, the scientists used an innovative method to replicate Martian gravity in rats designed by corresponding author Marie Mortreux, PhD, a post-doctoral research fellow in Rutkove's lab. This method was based on a similar approach in mice, originally developed by Mary Bouxsein, PhD, Director of the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies at BIDMC.

"In the past, mimicking lower gravity had been achieved by tail suspension," said Mortreux. "Although effective, this approach presents a variety of challenges, including impaired blood flow and spinal misalignment. To avoid these issues and to help keep the animals horizontal and presumably more comfortable, we incorporated a custom-fit suspension harness."

In this pilot study of two dozen male animals, half lived under normal gravity conditions as a control group, while half were exposed to Martian gravity, about 40 percent of that on Earth. Half of each of these groups received 150 milligrams resveratrol per kilogram of body weight per day, while half did not. As they hypothesized, the scientists found that after two weeks living in partial gravity, all animals experienced muscle atrophy. However, they also saw that animals that received resveratrol supplementation maintained both front and hind limb grip force - a metric that rapidly declines when animals are exposed to partial weight bearing conditions. Additionally, resveratrol supplementation led to a significant increase in muscle weight, myofiber (or muscle cell) size, and a protection of muscle composition.

"After five decades of manned low earth orbit missions, scientists have a relatively good understanding of the effects of microgravity on the human body, but the consequences of partial gravity remain far less well understood," said Mortreux. "This study emphasizes that natural compounds could be key to maintaining human health as we journey to the moon and to the red planet."

To follow up, the team would like to assess the benefits of resveratrol supplements in females as well as males, to see if the supplement may be of benefit for all space explorers.
-end-
In addition to Rutkove and Mortreux, co-authors include Mary L. Bouxsein, PhD, and Daniela Riveros, MD, a neurology research fellow in Rutkove's lab.

This work was funded by a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA: NNX16AL36G).

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

BIDMC is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a new health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.

For more information, visit http://www.bidmc.org.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Related Resveratrol Articles:

Compound found in red wine opens door for new treatments for depression, anxiety
A new University at Buffalo-led study has revealed that the plant compound resveratrol, which is found in red wine, displays anti-stress effects by blocking the expression of an enzyme related to the control of stress in the brain.
Red wine's resveratrol could help Mars explorers stay strong, says Harvard study
Mars is about 9 months from Earth with today's tech, NASA reckons.
A grape constituent protects against cancer
Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer, and 80 percent of death are related to smoking.
Is resveratrol an effective add-on to NSAIDS to treat knee osteoarthritis?
In what researchers state is the first pilot clinical trial to assess the effects of resveratrol on pain severity and levels of inflammatory biomarkers in patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, the scientists compared treatment with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) combined with either resveratrol or placebo over 90 days.
Substance found in grapes prevents agglomeration of a mutant protein that leads to cancer
A novel Brazilian study published in Oncotarget is the first to show the action of resveratrol, a bioactive compound present in grapes and red wine, on the inhibition of aggregates of the mutant p53 protein.
Metabolites of Resveratrol (Longevinex) pass through blood-ocular barriers in humans
On the heels of a study published last year that showed the red wine molecule resveratrol and its metabolites are found in human cerebrospinal fluid and therefore penetrate the blood-brain barrier, for the first time metabolites of the red wine molecule resveratrol have been detected in ocular tissues of humans as well.
University of Alberta research may provide solutions for the future treatment of diabetes
In a study published in the journal Diabetes, researchers at the University of Alberta found that feeding resveratrol to obese mice over a period of 6 weeks altered the makeup of the bacteria in their intestines, improving glucose tolerance.
Resveratrol preserves neuromuscular synapses, muscle fibers in aging mice
red wine, and metformin, a drug often prescribed to fight type 2 diabetes, have many of the neuroprotective benefits of a low-calorie diet and exercise.
Resveratrol may be an effective intervention for lung aging
In a study led by Barbara Driscoll, Ph.D., of The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, researchers demonstrate, for the first time that inhaled resveratrol treatments slow aging-related degenerative changes in mouse lung.
Resveratrol reverses heart damage in mice with Chagas disease
Resveratrol is the antioxidant found in red wine and famous as a food supplement capable of mimicking the effects of exercise and low calorie diets in the heart.
More Resveratrol News and Resveratrol Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.