What a great alternative to working out! According to a recent study, one glass of red wine is equal to an hour of exercise! Wait, is that what it really says? I want to dig into this a little more so you can understand the story behind the headlines.

Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats

ratdrinkingwineThat’s the actual headline from the study, but it doesn’t sounds quite as appealing.  (The original study was done in 2012, so it’s not the first time it has hit the news, nor will it be the last.)  During the study that put the rats into one of 4 groups

  1. Sedentary
  2. Sedentary + resveratrol
  3. Exercise
  4. Exercise + resveratrol

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red wine. It is sometimes sold in supplement form as well, but it’s mostly known for proving the health benefits of red wine. It has a positive impact on cardiac and skeletal muscle function, comparative to the effects of endurance exercise training.  It can be found in a variety of concentrations in red wine, for example, here is a chart from wikipedia.  (This is important…bear with me for a moment.)

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The Benefits of Resveratrol

As it turns out, the study has some outstanding results:

Our data shows that resveratrol opimitizes fat metabolism, which may contribute to the increased contractile force response of skeletal muscles and improved parameters of cardiac structure and function. …contribute to the improved endurance capacity of exercise trained rats and we conclude from these findings that dietary supplementation of resveratrol during exercise improves exercise performance beyond exercise alone.

This means that taking the resveratrol supplement did enhance exercise performance and optimize fat metabolism. All great things…right? Absolutely. So why are the articles saying that one glass of wine is equal to an hour of exercise? Well, the story has gotten a little twisted in the media. The resveratrol is a great exercise enhancer, but not a replacement.  So resveratrol is good for you and you should be on it, right?

Using Resveratrol to Boost Your Exercise Performance

Now that we know it’s a great exercise booster, we should all run out and get it? Let’s look at dosage first. In order to take in the same dosage as the rats are taking in (pound for pound), a 150 pound person will need to consume about 1,600 mg of resveratrol. Let’s say you want to get your portion from red wine, you will need to consume about 229 liters of red wine, or 1,300 glass of wine.  That’s a lot of red wine and would definitely not encourage you to do that. Many of the resveratrol ratdrinkswinesupplements on the market have a dosage of about 500 mg, which means you would need to consume 3 capsules a day to equal the study if you are 150 pounds. Considering that we are still learning about resveratrol and you now know that it is an exercise enhancer as opposed to an exercise replacement, it may not be as great of a deal as you hoped it would be.