Could drinking muscadine wine improve aging skin?

Posted: 26 July 2023 | | No comments yet

According to the results of a new study, a daily dose of dealcoholized wine can be linked to enhancing skin elasticity in middle-aged women.

red wine

The results of a recent study have found that women who drank two glasses of dealcoholized muscadine wine daily had “significant improvements in the elasticity and water retention of their skin” compared with those who consumed a placebo.

Researchers that carried out the study claimed that this is the first time that scientists have studied the impacts of non-alcoholic wine consumption on skin health in a randomised clinical trial.

According to the research team, the beneficial effects were attributed to chemical compounds called polyphenols that naturally occur in many plants.

“Muscadine grapes have been found to have a unique polyphenolic profile in comparison to other red wine varieties,” said Lindsey Christman, PhD, who conducted the research with Liwei Gu, PhD, Professor of Food Chemistry and functional food at the University of Florida.

“Our study suggests that muscadine wine polyphenols have potential to improve skin conditions, specifically elasticity and transepidermal water loss, in middle aged and older women.” 

Muscadine grapes are commonly used to make wine and are native to the Southeastern United States.

To carry out the study, researchers recruited 17 women age 40-67 and randomly assigned them to drink either dealcoholised wine or a placebo beverage that “looked and tasted similar but did not contain polyphenols”. Participants consumed 300 milliliters (or about 10 ounces – the equivalent of two glasses of wine) of their assigned beverage daily for six weeks. The participants then took a three-week break before switching to the opposite beverage for six weeks.

Researchers measured participants’ skin conditions and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress at the start of the study and at the end of each six-week period. Overall the research team found that drinking muscadine wine significantly improved skin elasticity (a loss of elasticity is what causes skin to sag more as we age).

Additionally, the wine was reportedly associated with a decrease in water loss at the skin surface, a measurement that indicates the skin is providing a more effective barrier against damage.

Researchers highlighted that they did not see any significant difference in the amount of wrinkles on the skin. However, participants reportedly showed “improvements in skin smoothness and less evidence of inflammation and oxidative stress compared to baseline, but there was not a significant difference in these factors between dealcoholized muscadine wine and the placebo”.

“This cross-over study demonstrated that six weeks of dealcoholised muscadine wine consumption resulted in improvement of certain skin parameters associated with aging, such as elasticity on the forearm and barrier function of the skin on the face, when compared to baseline and placebo. “This is likely due to decreases in inflammation and oxidative stress,” continued Christman.

As the trial only involved 17 participants, the researchers have said that repeating the study with a larger and more diverse group of people would help to confirm and strengthen the findings going forward.

In addition, as most commercially-available muscadine wine contains alcohol, the researchers cautioned that drinking wine with alcohol may produce a different result.

“We used dealcoholized muscadine wine because we were interested in the effect of the bioactive compounds in wine, specifically the polyphenols, on skin health. Alcohol would add another variable to the study that may cause the effects to be different. In addition, the dealcoholization process may alter the chemical composition,” concluded Christman.

Christman is set to present the findings at NUTRITION 2023, the flagship annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition held between 22 and 25 July in Boston, Massachusetts.

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