Researchers Are Trying to Make Red Wine in Pill Form


Love red wine but hate the headache, calories, and boozy bloat? Science has a solution for you: Wine in a pill! The new supplement promises all the health benefits you get from the resveratrol found naturally in wine, but without any of the problems…or fun. (You can also use this 48-hour guide to beat bloat.)

Resveratrol, a compound found naturally in foods like berries, grapes, and wine, has been the darling of the supplement industry for years now thanks to research showing its anti-aging, heart-protecting, and brain-boosting benefits. The only problem has been how to effectively get it to work in the body. Resveratrol can be extracted and purified (you’ll often see it sold in pill form, or in liquid form housed in bottles that look like wine), but the body doesn’t absorb it like it does from food sources. Why not? Purified resveratrol gets broken down too quickly by the liver. But is it possible to get enough resveratrol from wine? Scientists looking at resveratrol’s potential for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s estimate you’d have to drink the equivalent of 1,000 bottles of wine to get the health benefits seen in the research. Obviously, this is impractical both for nutritional and hangover reasons.

The science behind the benefits is simply too exciting to ignore though, so researchers around the world have been racing to come up with an improved, more effective resveratrol supplement. One group at Jupiter Orphan Therapeutics, a biotech company in Florida, are working to solve that problem by formulating resveratrol along with other healthy ingredients found in wine. This new recipe, they told the Wall Street Journal, prevents the molecule from being broken down by the liver, allowing it to work its magic unabated.

“The aim is to mimic the synergistic effect that is found in a glass of red wine without the negative effects of alcohol,” said Nady Braidy, another researcher working on an updated version of resveratrol, and a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing. Braidy’s formulation only requires 25mg of the supplement, the equivalent of “just” 13 bottles of wine.

The new type of resveratrol supplement is currently being tested (and Jupiter Orphan Therapuetics is waiting on a patent), but it could be on shelves within the year. So for everyone who’s just drinking red wine for the health benefits, soon you can ditch the glass. And for everyone else who’s just using “the health benefits” as an excuse to drink red wine: Carry on, friend, carry on.

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