By now, we should all know that it’s just good practice to approach any health claims surrounding alcoholic beverages with a degree of trepidation. This study, though, takes alcohol out of the equation: according to new research from the University of Florida, drinking two glasses of dealcoholized wine made from Muscadine grapes daily may help improve aging skin.
Muscadine grapes have long been touted for their health benefits, containing high concentrations of antioxidants — including polyphenols — which have been shown to prevent cell damage caused by aging.
For the study, which was conducted by the university’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, researchers selected 17 women between the ages of 40 and 67 and assigned each to consume either a dealcoholized Muscadine wine beverage or a placebo beverage that did not contain polyphenols. Each participant’s skin was assessed for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress prior to beginning the study. For the first six weeks of the study, each subject consumed two glasses of their assigned beverage daily before breaking for three weeks for researchers to assess their skin for any changes. Participants then swapped the beverages they were consuming for the study’s remaining six weeks. Once the study was complete, researchers measured the participants’ skin conditions one last time.
Upon analysis of their findings, UF researchers discovered a correlation between drinking dealcoholized muscadine wine and improved skin elasticity. Dr. Lindsey Christman, the lead researcher of the study, explained to Medical News Today that the polyphenols present in the wine — ellagic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, and myricetin — have the ability to potentially decrease UVB-induced protease activation, which is responsible for skin’s decreasing elasticity over time. Researchers also noted that the dealcoholized Muscadine wine was associated with improved water retention at the skin’s surface, indicating improved skin barrier health. The study did note that no significant change in the number of wrinkles present on its participants was observed.
While Muscadine grapes are used in the production of numerous wine varietals, it’s important to note that the benefits observed in this study cannot be extended to alcoholic Muscadine wines.
“Alcohol adds a new variable and may alter the results,” Dr. Christman explains. “In addition, the dealcoholization process may have altered the overall chemical make-up of the wine,” She points out that, for this reason, the results also cannot be applied to Muscadine grape juice.