Monday, 14 March 2011 11:44
Red Wine may help against Nuclear Toxins
It may sound frivolous to advise the unfortunate Japanese currently facing the trauma of possible radio active nuclear radiation, to drink red wine to neutralize the toxic effects but this was the refrain after the Chernobyl disaster and a study in 2008 by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine indicative of a scientific basis of the advisory gains more relevance.
After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of Ukraine in April, 1986 people were advised to drink red wine or vodka to neutralize the radio-active toxic effects though there was no scientific reasoning. Time magazine had reported in an article on June 2, 1986 that ‘one tale making the rounds, according to the weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta, was that vodka and red wine could cure the effects of radiation exposure. First Deputy Health Minister Oleg Shchepin called that boozy prescription dangerous nonsense.’ However, this was the popular advice and many Ukrainians reportedly believed that red wine really helped.
The study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2008 concluded that Resveratrol, the natural antioxidant commonly found in red wine and many plants, might offer protection against radiation exposure. When altered with acetyl, resveratrol administered before radiation exposure proved to protect cells from radiation in mice.
The study, led by Joel Greenberger, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was overseen by Pitt's Center for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation. The center is dedicated to identifying and developing small molecule radiation protectors and mitigators that easily can be accessed and administered in the event of a large-scale radiological or nuclear emergency.
"Currently there are no drugs on the market that protect against or counteract radiation exposure," he added. "Our goal is to develop treatments for the general population that are effective and non-toxic."
Dr. Greenberger and his team are conducting further studies to determine whether acetylated resveratrol eventually can be translated into clinical use as a radio-protective agent. In 2004, this same team of researchers identified a drug that can be delivered directly to the mitochondria, the energy producing areas of cells. When this occurs, the drug assists the mitochondria in combating radiation-induced cell death.
The study reported by Science Daily on September 24, 2008 becomes more relevant today and perhaps calls for more to be carried out soon. In the meanwhile, it may not hurt to follow the advice the advice of the Ukrainians who suffered the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 to have a couple of glasses of red wine.