Study Finds: A Glass of Red Wine = An Hour of Workout at the Gym


Researchers at Canada’s University of Alberta have discovered a natural compound called resveratrol in red wine that improves physical performance, heart function and muscle strength. In short, the researchers claim, resveratrol mimics exercise in the body and boosts workout performance, suggesting a glass of red wine equals an hour of workout at a fitness center.

Jason Dyck, director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Alberta and lead author of the research, comments:

“We were excited when we saw that resveratrol showed results similar to what you would see from extensive endurance exercise training. We immediately saw the potential for this and thought that we identified ‘improved exercise performance in a pill’.

“I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do.”

Does this mean you can forgo the gym for a glass of red wine and strengthen your heart, muscles and bones? NO.

The research at the University of Alberta was carried out on mice, not humans. Further, researchers at the University of Alberta used the equivalent of 146 milligrams of resveratrol per kilogram of body weight per day — that is a lot of red wine. Thus, to be really beneficial, resveratrol would need to be used like a performance-enhancing supplement, with concentrations far beyond a glass of wine.

Dyck clears the air:

“No, sadly that’s not the case [skipping the gym in favor of the pub], although I think many people want to believe that. We didn’t use any red wine in our study nor did we recommend not going to the gym. To get the same amount that we’re giving patients or rodents you’d have to drink anywhere from 100 to a thousand bottles a day“.

While there is no doubt that drinking a glass of red wine a day slows down aging, keeps your heart healthy, regulates blood sugar levels, reduces bad cholesterol, prevents blood clots, and decreases the risk of cataracts… alcohol consumption in great quantities also leads to all sorts of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Lauren Schmitt, registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, as well as owner of LA-based Healthy Eating And Training Inc., advises:

“In one glass of red wine, there is about 0.29 to 1.89 milligrams of resveratrol. A human being could never consume that dose [used by the researchers] from red wine and exercise safely. A resveratrol supplement would be necessary. [However] Do not rely on supplements to get your body in the best shape possible…

“When you do feel like having a glass of wine (in moderation, of course!), do so. But do it because you want to—not because you think it’ll help you run a faster 5K. In fact, too much alcohol may cause a decrease in workout performance because it can make you fatigued, sleep-deprived, dehydrated, or physically impaired. Alcohol also suppresses the body’s ability to use fat as fuel, which is one of the reasons people engage in physical activity.”

Does this mean you should quit red wine — a 250ml glass of which contains about 215 calories — altogether? As in all things, moderation is the key. Robert Locke writes:

“The Harvard Medical School recommends a glass of red wine, rather than taking all those resveratrol supplements. This is the best way to enhance your exercise regime and it can also have anti-aging properties.

Another great benefit of having a glass of red wine after your workout is that it can help digestion and add to the good bacteria in your intestines. In addition, you will be able to considerably reduce your risk of getting cancer and it will help your mind to stay alert. That glass of red wine can also help to soothe those sore muscles and make you less sensitive to pain.”

This article (Study Finds: A Glass of Red Wine = An Hour of Workout at the Gym) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and


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