An ingredient of red wine extends lifespan by up to 70% – in yeast1. The compound seems to mimic the age-enhancing effects of calorie restriction on the single-celled organism.
Capitalizing on the chemical, called resveratrol, is a long way off in humans, says David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who led the research. To match the yeast doses, he says, humans would need to drink a glass of their favourite vintage morning, noon and night.
But the research may help explain why red-quaffing Mediterraneans live to a ripe old age. Resveratrol boosts levels of an enzyme called Sir2, which is thought to extend lifespan by stabilizing DNA. “It’s highly plausible that boosting enzyme activity will slow functional decline in old age,” agrees Peter Piper, who studies ageing at University College London.