Landmark Study: Champagne is the Elixir of Youth

Champagne really is the elixir of youth.

© Shutterstock

champagne-youth

Champagne really is the elixir of youth.

© Shutterstock

Science has finally confirmed what many had suspected for years: Champagne is the elixir of youth. A new study published by Professor Dr Véronique Bouzy, co-chair of Bacchanalian Studies at the University of Lushville, France, establishes a number of scientific facts that will be music to the ears of Champagne and sparkling wine lovers the world over.

A three-dimensional picture

The long-term study, financed by the Alliance de Marques Effervescentes (AME), followed more than 50,000 Champagne and fine fizz drinkers around the world over a period of 25 years, assembling impressive data sets across gender and age groups. The study became ever more sophisticated as scientific methods evolved. It had focused initially on physiological aspects only but over the past decade, neurological and psychological aspects were added in an attempt to achieve a more three-dimensional picture of sparkling wine consumption. The first paper of the study has now been published, providing a comprehensive assessment of what regularly consuming Champagne does to the human body, mind and soul.

A potent mix

Champagne and other high-quality bottle-fermented sparkling wines have aspects that make them differ from other styles of wine. Usually, they are:

  • are higher in acid, especially tartaric acid, the acidity unique to wine.
  • Are less alcoholic with alcohol volumes usually ranging between 12-12.5% ABV
  • have a higher protein content, having undergone prolonged ageing on lees, a process which also concentrates the phenolic compounds of the wine.

Physiological aspects

The high tartaric acid content was found to have a profound effect on collagen and elastin, the two proteins within the dermis layer of human skin, acting as a powerful preservative of youthful looks.

The proteins and phenolic compounds in fine sparkling wines measurably improved alertness and memory and were found to improve cognitive function and slow down memory loss.

The beneficial aspects of these proteins on the human brain also promoted better sleep with more pleasant dreams as well as an increased sex drive. These effects became more marked as study cohorts transitioned into middle and old age.

Emotions and beyond

While these physiological aspects combine to making Champagne an impressive anti-ageing tonic, Dr. Bouzy pointed out that the effects of fine fizz on human’s sense of joy and well-being were just as important. The enjoyment of the wine also added to a more positive outlook, more optimism and a more relaxed attitude long after the drink was consumed, resulting in measurably less secretion of stress hormones like cortisol and increased levels of endorphins, the body’s own “happy hormones.

The fact that the pleasure derived from drinking fine, effervescent wines is not only experiential but also anticipatory, increases these positive effects manifold, i.e. putting a bottle in the fridge to drink later immediately results in anticipatory pleasure and the subsequent hormonal changes. These effects could even be observed when the actual consumption came with significant delay, say when individuals in the study bought cases of Champagne to age and lay down for the long term.

Veritable elixir of youth

Félicien Bulles, chairman of AME, commented that these overwhelmingly positive results finally gave a scientific foundation to what had been observed for decades. He confirmed that “the cost of financing such a project over the long term has been absolutely worth it. We are looking forward to further findings over the coming decades of this exciting field of study.” Dr. Bouzy, 63 years old but with the glowing skin of a much younger woman, stated that the combined effects of regular consumption of Champagne and other high-quality traditional method sparkling wines thus added up to make these drinks “a veritable elixir of youth.”

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