I know I’m late to this medical news, but as I was browsing a website for the Moldovan wine industry last week, I came across an item urging that country’s vintners to send some of their stock to Japan to help fight the effects of radiation exposure. So I poked around a bit more and found a University of Pittsburgh study from 2008 that suggested that resveratrol, the substance in the skin of red grapes for which many grand claims are made, could help protect cells from radiation damage. An Italian study has also suggested that it helps protect the skin of women who are undergoing radiation therapy as part of their breast cancer treatment.

Wouldn’t that be great?

Bulgaria seems to be getting out in front on this. Standart, a Bulgarian newspaper, reported on 16 March that “Red Wine Fights Radiation Better Than Iodine,” citing an official with the Bulgarian Nutrition Association, who in turn cites unspecified British research showing “Bulgarian wines are especially beneficial in such cases.”

The newspaper adds:

People in Vratsa, northwestern Bulgaria, are masters in banishing the radiation effects by means of red-wine-drinking and consumption of chili peppers. The recipe has been brought from Russian and Ukrainian natives who came to the town after the accident in Chernobyl, 1986. The home-made anti-radiation vaccine has been imported directly from the affected lands.

Barbara Frye

Barbara Frye is Transitions Online’s managing editor. Email: barbara.frye@tol.org

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