MONDAY July 7, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study
suggests that middle-aged men and women could slow aging-related deterioration
and functional decline by using resveratrol, a compound found in red wine,
grapes and nuts.
Resveratrol has been found in previous studies to have effects
in animals similar to what's induced by calorie restriction, which is known to
extend lifespan in many animal models.
The current study sponsored and conducted by the National
institute on Aging confirmed resveratrol has some effects of calorie
restriction, but indicated that this compound does not increase lifespan in
study mice when fed a standard diet.
The study led by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of
Experimental Gerontology at the NIA and colleagues compared mice fed a standard
diet, a high-calorie diet or an every-other-day feeding regimen with or without
high- or low-dose resveratrol for the aging related health conditions.
Calorie restriction including every-other-day feeding
regimen has been showed to improve markers of health, according to the study.
"Research is attempting to understand the process of
aging and to determine how interventions can influence this process. Dietary
restriction has well-documented health benefits in mammals, and the study of
possible mimetics of it, such as resveratrol, are of great interest," said
NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
"Resveratrol has produced significant effects in animal
models, now including mice, where it mimics some, but not all, consequences of
caloric restriction. Its effects in humans remain to be studied."
The researchers found resveratrol prevented aging-related and
obesity-related cardiovascular functional decline in the mice as determined by
Resveratrol also significantly reduced total cholesterol in
22-month-old non-obese mice after 10 months of treatment.
Additionally the aortas of 18-month-old obese and non-obese
mice receiving resveratrol functioned significantly compared to untreated mice.
Plus, the compound improved inflammation in the heart.
In addition to cardiovascular function, the researchers
found resveratrol to have a variety of positive impact on other aging-related
problems in mice, cited from a news release from
NIH/National Institute on Aging
* Treated mice
tended to have better bone health, as measured by thickness, volume, mineral
content and density, and bending stiffness compared to the non-treated control
* At 30 months of
age, resveratrol-treated mice were found to have reduced cataract formation, a
condition found to increase with age in control-group mice.
enhanced balance and motor coordination in aged animals. Scientists found
significant improvement in performance at 21 and 24 months versus 15 months in
the resveratrol-treated mice but not in the untreated mice.
partially mimicked the effects of dietary restriction on the gene expression
profiles of liver, skeletal muscle and adipose (fatty) tissue in mice.
In spite of all the benefits, resveratrol did not significantly
increase lifespan in animals fed standard chow, suggesting that the
intervention did not affect all aspects of the basic aging process.
The study showed mice on the high-calorie diet without
resveratrol lived the shortest length of time and those on an every-other-day
regimen lived the longest, regardless of resveratrol treatment.
In mice fed the high-calorie diet, however, mean and maximum
lifespan increased for those treated with resveratrol when compared with the mice
on the high calorie diet without resveratrol.
Regardless of the weight status, mice fed on the high
calorie diet, but treated with resveratrol lived longer or healthier than mice
on the same diet but without resveratrol.
The researchers explained that improved cardiovascular
health and reduced fatty changes in the liver may have contributed to the
increased lifespan of resveratrol-treated mice.
The results were based on an animal study; more research is
needed to understand how resveratrol affect human’s cardiovascular health and
"We are learning a great deal about how resveratrol
affects the health and survival of mammals," said David A. Sinclair,
Ph.D., of the Glenn Laboratories for Molecular Biology of Aging at Harvard
Medical School. "Continued study of calorie restriction mimetics such as
resveratrol may eventually point the way to new medicines to treat diseases of
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