When researchers discuss the potential health benefits of red wine, resveratrol is regularly cited as a key culprit. The actual benefits are still debated, but people have claimed the compound can help with everything from losing weight to straight up living longer. Now, a new study suggests resveratrol might help people survive on Mars, too — but don’t toss a case of red wine in your space suitcase just yet.
Full disclosure, the paper — courtesy of researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology — only mentions red wine once, pointing out that resveratrol is “commonly found in grape skin, red wine, and blueberries and used as a dietary supplement.” Things look more promising when the authors write that their findings determined that “a moderate daily dose” of the polyphenol may be enough to “help mitigate muscle deconditioning in a Mars gravity analog.” To put it another way, resveratrol may be able to help astronauts counteract the negative impact of living in the reduced gravity of Mars (which is only about a third of what it is on Earth).
That said, the study defined a “moderate” dose as “150 mg/kg/day.” Results vary, but the site Live Science pegs the maximum amount of resveratrol in a glass of wine at 2 milligrams — meaning you’d be drinking wine by the case, not by the glass, to hit a moderate daily dose… and the alcohol would surely counteract any of the benefits of the resveratrol.
Still, it’s not like the idea of shipping red wine to the Red Planet was sensible to begin with. Instead, however, if resveratrol was proven to be key to battling the negative effects of Martian gravity, it could possibly create a strong argument for including vineyards as part of a Martian terraforming effort. And hey, having some wineries probably wouldn’t hurt luring more tourists to Mars either.