I am a Clinician researcher and a director at the Children Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network, and I will address red wine and Friedreich ataxia.
Friedreich ataxia is a genetic disorder that one inherits from both parents through the “Autosomal recessive transmission.” The disease occurs when a faulty gene lowers the amount of frataxin, an important protein that promotes the health of key cells in the heart and the nervous system.
Friedreich ataxia occurs when both parents of the affected individual have one faulty gene while the other is unaffected. In this case, there is a one in four chance that the child will get the disease and three in four chances that they will not.
Usually, one gets the disease if they have a double faulty gene. However, one is considered healthy if one gene is unaffected.
Symptoms of Friedreich ataxia
Common Symptoms of Friedreich ataxia include:
- Loss of hearing
- Speech problems
- Weak muscles
- Poor or lack of coordination
- Lack of reflexes in the legs
- Foot deformities
Individuals that suffer from this genetic disease usually require a wheelchair 15 years after the symptoms start. Also, about 75% of people with this condition get heart abnormalities like thickening the heart muscle.
As a result, it reduces the lifespan, and the average age at death for people with Friedreich ataxia is the mid-30s.
Unfortunately, there is no proven treatment to stop or slow the progression of this condition.
For years now, our laboratory research team has been seeking to understand Friedreich ataxia and how it can be treated. During our research, we established that a medication known as resveratrol helped boost frataxin levels produced by cells. Resveratrol, which is naturally found in nuts and grapes, is also present in red wine.
We did a study where people suffering from this condition were given the medication and found out that it could have some benefits.
Our team is planning to do a large study to find out whether resveratrol can slow down the progression of this genetic disease.