Muscadine grapes are native to the Southeastern United States and are frequently used to produce wine. A team of researchers from the University of Florida has discovered that women who drank two glasses of dealcoholized muscadine wine daily for six weeks showed significant improvements in skin elasticity and water retention in comparison to those who consumed a placebo.
This is the first study examining the impact of nonalcoholic wine consumption on skin health in a randomized clinical trial.
Previous research has suggested that the polyphenols – naturally occurring compounds found in a variety of plants – contained in this type of wine could help decrease inflammation and oxidative stress. These polyphenols include quercetin, anthiocyanins, and ellagic acid.
“Muscadine grapes have been found to have a unique polyphenolic profile in comparison to other red wine varieties,” explained lead author Lindsey Christman, a doctoral student in Food Chemistry at 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.”
How scientists conducted the study
The researchers recruited a cohort of 17 women aged 40 to 67 and randomly assigned them to drink either dealcoholized muscadine wine or a placebo beverage which looked and tasted the same but did not contain polyphenols.
The study asked the participants to consume 300 milliliters (10 ounces, or the equivalent of two glasses of wine) of their assigned beverage daily for six weeks. Then, after a three-week break, they switched to the other beverage for another six weeks.
At the start of the study and at the end of each six-week trial, the scientists measured participants’ skin conditions, markers of inflammation, and oxidative stress.
What they learned about muscadine wine
The experiments revealed that drinking muscadine wine significantly improved skin elasticity. The association also showed a decrease in water loss at the skin surface.
This measurement suggests that the skin is providing a more efficient barrier against damage occurring with aging. However, the study found no major differences in the amount of wrinkles on the skin.
Participants showed improvements in skin smoothness and less inflammation and oxidative stress compared to baseline. However, researchers identified no significant difference between muscadine wine and the placebo beverage.
“This cross-over study demonstrated that six weeks of dealcoholized 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,” said Christman.
The team plans more research
Since the trial involved a small number of participants, researchers need to conduct further studies with a larger and more diverse cohort to confirm these findings.
Moreover, since most commercially available muscadine wine contains alcohol, research on the effects of alcoholic muscadine wine on skin health are also necessary.
“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 dealcholization process may alter the chemical composition,” Christman concluded.
More about muscadine wine
Winemakers produce Muscadine wine from muscadine grapes. This grape species is native to the Southeastern United States.
They grow wild there, and vineyard owners also cultivate them. Muscadine grapes, known for their sweet and musky flavor, impart the same taste to the wine.
There are different varieties of muscadine grapes, and the color of the grapes can range from green to bronze to black. As such, muscadine wine can vary in color as well, from white to rose to red. The wine is often sweet, although dry versions do exist.
The process of making muscadine wine is similar to that of other wines. However, because muscadines have a thicker skin than many other types of grapes, the winemaking process can take longer.
Winemakers crush the grapes to extract the juice and then add yeast to start the fermentation process. They leave the juice to ferment for a specific period.
This can last from a period of a few weeks to a few months. After completing fermentation, winemakers often age the wine to further develop its flavors.
Muscadine wine is rich in antioxidants and has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other types of wine. It’s a niche product and may not be as widely known or available as wines made from more common grape varieties. However, it’s an important part of the wine tradition in the areas where muscadine grapes grow.