Red Wine Component Could Help with Space Travel

It's more about the berry and less about the booze.


Research suggests that long periods of time spent in space have a negative effect on the body's muscles and bones, causing them to atrophy, or weaken. This is one of the reasons why the International Space Station has exercise equipment. However, long-distance trips to Mars, for example, might not offer the same option, which is why scientists have been experimenting with different supplements that could help prevent muscle and bone atrophy.

Resveratrol is an organic compound found in red wine, and it could be the solution to prolonged time in space by preventing the breakdown of human muscle, tissue and bone. Resveratrol is found in the skins of red grapes and blueberries. It's anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and anti-diabetic effects could offer the solution to this physical challenge.The latest study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, looked at the compound's effects on musculoskeletal health.

To replicate microgravity conditions, scientists fitted lab rats with a harness and suspended them from the ceiling of their cages, allowing their feet to just barely touch the ground. Half the rats were fed water supplemented with resveratrol. During the 14-day study, scientists measured the rats' calf circumference and strength of their rear paw grip.

The muscles of rats who only drank water got smaller and weaker, but for the others, resveratrol almost totally prevented musculoskeletal wasting. More experiments are needed to determined the ideal dosing levels and to test for potential complications with other drugs and supplements.