Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine and dark chocolate, has long been associated with the prevention of heart disease and other health benefits.
Now a new -- albeit small -- study published in the Journal of Neuroscience has found that the substance may also be celebrated as a way to boost memory.
Researchers in Germany tested 46 overweight but otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 50 and 75 who took resveratrol supplements for six months. According to their findings, the 23 adults who took the supplements remembered more words on a list that they had seen 30 minutes previously than the 23 adults who received a placebo. Those who took the supplement also exhibited more connections among brain areas involved in memory, researchers found.
"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 needs to be evaluated in large-scale clinical trials," neuroscientist Veronica Witte told Live Science.
Witte and other researchers at the Charité University in Berlin also found reduced levels of a blood sugar marker in those who took resveratrol. The research suggests that sugar metabolism may be linked with brain connectivity and memory.
Despite the study's findings, the jury still appears to be out on whether resveratrol is truly the magic bullet against aging and poor health.
Although many studies have touted its benefits, other research made public only a month ago called into question the superpowers of resveratrol. Indeed that study showed that a diet high in the compound did not lead to a significant decrease in heart disease, cancer or death.
It's clear that more research needs to be done before we decide whether to part permanently -- or pour more of -- our Pinot Noir.
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