Red wine, hot peppers and my uncle Gigi

I have wonderful memories of spending summers at a rustic cottage on tiny Pleasant Lake in Michigan with my aunt Lila and my Uncle Gigi D’Augistino, back when I was a child in the 30s.  Gigi loved his red wine and would sprinkle dried red peppers generously over his pasta.  He would explain that his two doctors constantly gave him conflicting advice.  Dr. Gigante, our family’s traditional Italian-trained doctor, would tell Gigi that if he drank one or two glasses of red wine with every meal and partake of the capsicum pepper he would live a long and healthy life.  His modern American doctor told him that unless he cut out the wine and pepper he would surely die of stomach cancer.  Both doctors turned out to be right.  He died of stomach cancer back around 1965 I would guess at the age of 79, living a long life for back at that time.

Back in the 30s, health effects of red wine and hot peppers only existed in oral folk medicine.  There were no biomolecular theories of what these substances might do, animal experiments or clinical trials.  It was enough for Dr. Gigante to say “Red wine and hot peppers will aid your digestion and might help you live longer.”  Now of course we know about the polyphenols like resveratrol that exist in red wine and have a fairly good picture of how some of them limit inflammation, control apoptosis, fight cancers, affect “longevity genes,” and so forth.  A conflict about the longevity effects of wine still exists (see this post) but without any doubt red wine contains biochemical ingredients that are definitely health-promoting and potentially life-extending.

So much for red wine.  Now how about the red peppers?  It appears that a similar story exists.  Capsicum, the main ingredient in hot peppers, apparently can induce apoptosis in cancer cells (ref)(ref).  The American doctor back in the 30s was telling Gigi  the opposite of what was right about his pepper habits and cancer risk.  It has been shown to exert biological activities (anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and chemopreventive) in many cancer cell lines(ref).”  Red peppers are turning out to be hot stuff for cancer prevention.  Oh, a final note for any of you worrying about end-burns.  “There is no scientific evidence that a spicy meal based on red hot chili pepper may worsen hemorrhoidal symptoms and, therefore, there is no reason to prevent these patients from occasionally enjoying a spicy dish if they so wish.(ref)”   

Hmm. I am yearning for a good plate of pasta with meat sauce sprinkled with red peppers tonight!

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career, since 2007. I believe I am unique among the researchers and writers in the aging sciences community in one critical respect. That is, I personally practice the anti-aging interventions that I preach and that has kept me healthy, young, active and highly involved at my age, now approaching 91. I am as productive as I was at age 45. I don’t know of anybody else active in that community in my age bracket. In particular, I have focused on the importance of controlling chronic inflammation for healthy aging, and have written a number of articles on that subject in this blog. In 2014, I created a dietary supplement to further this objective. In 2019, two family colleagues and I started up Synergy Bilherbals a dietary supplement company that is now selling this product. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at and an extensive site of my art at Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Red wine, hot peppers and my uncle Gigi

  1. Pingback: Aging as a genomic-epigenomic dance | AGING SCIENCES – Anti-Aging Firewalls

Leave a Reply