If you have any doubt about whether a glass of wine replaces an hour of exercise, in this text we will discuss the effects of a natural polyphenol present in various foods such as wine, resveratrol. Often approached on the internet, it was titled as a mimetic substance of exercise, that is, substance that supposedly induces mechanisms similar to that of exercise in the human body, which reflects in improved health and physical performance. But to what extent is a glass of wine really able to turn us into highly conditioned athletes?
Several strategies are used to improve the individual’s physical performance, either through nutritional or hormonal supplements. Basically, increased muscle mass, endurance and potency are aimed at above the individual’s natural line. For this, we already know that the performance of physical exercise improves the resilience in response to increase in mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, i.e., increase in the number and size of mitochondria, the main organelle responsible for energy metabolism.
In the course of physical training, we also have resveratrol, a naturally occurring polyphenol that has also been shown to increase this mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, in addition to improving fatty acid oxidation, and such changes are associated with improved cardiac function. Therefore, dietary supplements that increase the physiological effects of exercise on skeletal and cardiac muscles can improve performance beyond exercise alone.
Resveratrol: Why this boom?
A randomized clinical trial with rats divided them into two groups, one of them received a standard diet and the other received the same diet, but resveratrol supplementation was associated. This study demonstrated that, both when submitted to physical exercise, there was a significant improvement in exercise performance, increased strength response of isolated muscles and increased oxidative metabolism of the whole body in the supplemented group. At the heart level, several parameters of left ventricular function and energetic homeotase were improved through changes in signal transduction pathways and gene expression profiles.
These data, in turn, allowed us to conclude that resveratrol is an ergogenic aid that improves physical capacity through changes in muscle and cardiac function, accompanied by a notorious improvement in energy metabolism. Thus, similar to physical training, a natural polyphenol, resveratrol, can trigger the growth of mitochondria.
Is wine resveratrol enough?
If we use the same measurements of the study in order to convert to humans, we would need 10g of resveratrol for an individual about 70 kg. This, even if adopting factor 10 as margin of error, is still equivalent to at least 1 g of resveratrol.
Whereas a glass of wine has about 1 mg of resveratrol, then for that same individual to get 1g he would have to consume 1000 glasses of red wine a day. That is, although resveratrol works, it is an investment that would not be worth the “cost x benefit” when we think about the deleterious effects of alcohol.
After all: does wine replace physical exercise?
In 2022, a systematic review and meta-analysis was published that compared all studies that analyzed resveratrol and training adaptations. This study was a fundamental part of bringing down data that were previously considered robust from the 2012 randomized trial, since it was possible to conclude that instead of inducing a significant effect on adaptation to training, there were negative responses. Therefore, if you are going to consume wine, we hope it is by your own desire and never due to the resveratrol present in it. To improve physical and cardiac fitness, we get regular physical exercise and healthy eating. It has no secret, and with the case of wine, no, wine n
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Dolinsky VW, Jones KE, Sidhu RS, Haykowsky M, Czubryt MP, Gordon T, Dyck JRB. Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats. Physiol J 1;590(11):2783-99, 2012
Martinez-Negrin G, Acton JP, Cocksedge SP, Bailey SJ, Tom Clifford T (2022)
The effect of dietary (poly)phenols on exercise-induced physiological adaptations: A systematic review and meta-analysis of human intervention trial
s. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 62:11, 2872-2887, 2022