July 05, 2008
Resveratrol Delays Old Age Decay In Mice

Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, reduces decay in middle aged (1 year old) mice and, depending on the diet, extends life expectancy.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 3, 2008 -- Sirtris, a GlaxoSmithKline company focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging such as Type 2 Diabetes, is included among a research team that reported in today's online edition of Cell Metabolism that mice treated at middle-age to the end-of-life with resveratrol showed an overall health improvement, including improved bone health, a reduction in cataracts and cardiovascular dysfunction, and improved balance and motor coordination.

Resveratrol probably works by mimicking the effects of calorie restriction. The big advantage of resveratrol is that most people can't stand to live in constant hunger. Taking a pill is a whole lot easier.

"In this study, we wanted to determine whether or not resveratrol, which imparts many of the same health benefits as caloric restriction in mice, does so by inducing a physiology similar to dietary restriction," says study co-author David Sinclair, Ph.D., a Sirtris co-founder and Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Pathology. "The data show that resveratrol does induce many similar pathways," says Sinclair, who is co-chair of Sirtris' Scientific Advisory Board. The study was co-led by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D. at the National Institute on Aging and David Sinclair.

The research team began testing of mice at one year, the mouse equivalent of middle-age, as that is when a small molecule drug mimicking dietary restriction might be given to humans.

Rather than restricting calories by feeding the mice less per day the researchers restrictd calories with every-other-day feeding (EOD). Anyone know why?

The mice were placed on different diets: a standard diet (SD); every-other-day feeding (EOD); and a high-calorie diet (HC). Mice in each dietary regime were divided into treated and untreated subgroups, with some not receiving resveratrol and others receiving different dosage levels of resveratrol.

Surprisingly, resveratrol extends life of those on the calorie restriction diet. I say "surprisingly" because calorie restriction is already causing most of the changes that resveratrol causes. But note that mice on the middle range calorie diet did not live longer as a result of resveratrol treatment.

The study showed that resveratrol induces gene expression patterns in multiple tissues that parallel those induced by dietary restriction, a diet known to slow aging and extend lifespan in rodents and dogs. The study also found a significant increase in lifespan in both the resveratrol treated group on a high-calorie diet and the resveratrol treated group on a calorie restriction diet, but the treatments did not extend lifespan of mice on a standard diet when started at one year of age. This study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Maybe on the EOD mice the resveratrol worked by mimicking the effects of calorie restriction on the feeding days?

Resveratrol altered mitochondrial gene expression. I like the idea of delaying osteoporosis, cataracts, and decline in motor coordination.

Specifically, researchers found that resveratrol decreased functional decline often seen in the frail and elderly, such as osteoporosis, cataracts, and motor coordination. For example, in general, femurs from the resveratrol-treated mice trended toward better bone properties, suggested that resveratrol could reduce age-induced bone loss in normal mice. Cataract formation was also lessened by resveratrol in a dose-dependent manner. The mice on a SD treated with resveratrol also showed a significant improvement in balance and motor coordination. The resveratrol treated mice also had improved markers for cardiovascular health. Their arteries were more youthful, and they had reduced aortic stiffness. They also had fewer free radicals and DNA damage.

Even better, I like the idea of reversing the aging process so that we never get osteoporosis, cataracts, cancer, heart disease, decline in motor coordination, shriveling of muscles, graying of all hair, hearing problems, loss of teeth, knee pain, wrist pain, and a great many other things that make aging very undesirable.

My reaction to this study is mild disappointment. Resveratrol did not work nearly as well as calorie restriction in extending life. You still need to starve yourself to assure a longer life.

Resveratrol did not have a significant effect on lifespan in animals fed standard chow, suggesting that the intervention did not affect all aspects of the basic aging process. Mice on a high-calorie diet without resveratrol lived the shortest length of time and mice on an every-other-day regimen lived the longest, regardless of resveratrol treatment. However, for mice on a high-calorie diet, mean and maximum lifespan increased for mice on resveratrol when compared with the control mice. Researchers found that resveratrol's effects on longevity could be completely uncoupled from changes in body weight, meaning that mice on a high-calorie diet with resveratrol did not necessarily lose weight but did experience a longer (and healthier) life than mice on the same high-calorie diet not taking resveratrol. They speculate that improved cardiovascular health and reduced fatty changes in the liver may have contributed to the increased lifespan of resveratrol-treated mice.

I'm still not taking resveratrol yet. But this result makes me lean a little closer toward taking it.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 July 05 09:47 AM  Aging Diet Resveratrol

Kralizec said at July 6, 2008 8:08 AM:
Rather than restricting calories by feeding the mice less per day the researchers restricted calories with every-other-day feeding (EOD). Anyone know why?
Not having read the article myself, I'm not sure the mice on the EOD diet were subject to an overall caloric restriction. At least one study in rats has shown health benefits from alternating days of fasting and ad libitum feeding.

In a small study of persons with moderate asthma, the participants alternately restricted calories and ate until satisfied on successive days for eight weeks. Over time, they showed declining levels of various markers of inflammation and stress, their asthmatic symptoms improved, and they lost weight. The last name of the lead author of the study's report is Johnson.

Perhaps the best single source for information on the value of intermittency and variable intensity in diet and exercise is Arthur DeVany, an economist who has turned his attention to the circumstances and practices that seem to have been prevalent prior to the rise of agriculture and settlements. His website is http://www.arthurdevany.com/ .

Mthson said at July 7, 2008 3:39 AM:

Arthur's work looks very interesting, but his comment about life extension on a post about humans being neotaneous apes makes me a bit skeptical.

Dorian Grey may not die, but he would not look like his picture either. He would resemble an ape. ...
Even if de Grey is right, will extending our lives make us all more ape-like. I think so. Not in brain power but in appearance and perhaps even posture and function.
I have met Audley and he is brilliant and determined, even possibly right. I don’t think he has thought of the aspect Huxley points to in his novel of the implications of my post. Extending age may leave neotony behind. The swan will fade I think.
Read the whole post if you want the context: http://www.arthurdevany.com/?p=1075.

Old people hunch over etc. because their bodies are breaking down, not because they're turning more into apes.

Jimcoli said at July 14, 2008 9:53 AM:

You say: "Surprisingly, resveratrol extends life of those on the calorie restriction diet."
But that isn't clear to me. Was there a control group that got calorie restriction and NO resveratrol? Unless there was for comparison (calorie restriction-no resveratrol vs. calorie restriction-with resveratrol) the best we can say is CALORIE RESTRICTION likely (like it does most of the time)extended the life of the mice who also happened to be taking resveratrol. Now that we seem to know that calorie restriction and resveratrol work in slightly different ways, it would be nice to know if calorie restrictors can get an EXTRA boost from resveratrol. I can't tell from the Eureka report that this was the case. Anybody read the original?

James said at September 17, 2008 9:02 AM:

Dorian Grey may not die, but he would not look like his picture either. He would resemble an ape. ...
Even if de Grey is right, will extending our lives make us all more ape-like. I think so. Not in brain power but in appearance and perhaps even posture and function.

Jeffrey Walden said at October 27, 2008 3:37 PM:

I have been taking a resveratrol supplement called Resvantage for about a year and have had good results on it. My cholesterol has dropped substantially and my muscle tone has improved as has my mental acuity. You have done a great job on this site of stating the facts which I think make a strong case for taking resveratrol. Now the same people who make my supplement have a resveratrol supplement for dogs called Resvantage Canine. In addition to resveratrol, it contains omega 3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil, lecithin, and natural vitamins and minerals from sea kelp. It's an all natural formula and should provide good health and life extention for dogs as was proven in the NIH studies which used mice and dogs.

Dre said at February 12, 2009 12:17 PM:

Hello everyone,
I have been a resveratrol consumer now for over 16 months. As most of you now know, resveratrol mimics the effects of caloric restriction to extend life spans. Calorie restriction has been around since the 30’s and is the only proven way to extend the human life span. Except I enjoy my regular calorie diet and that is why I take resveratrol.

Same as Jeffrey, I am also a Resvantage consumer I have been on it for about 14 months. I first tried the others with the higher doses and I am getting better results from the 15mg Resvantage than from the 100mg I first started with. I now have better sleep and much more energy through the entire day.

Also, I have been feeding Resvantage Canine to my 1 year old pitbull now for about 5 weeks now. During which time I have not changed her diet or regular activities. She is now leaner and shows more muscle tone and her coat is much shinier. These two things are great but they are not the reason I feed her resveratrol. The reason is that I had two other dogs which died from cancer related diseases. Apparently, about 50% of deaths in dongs are cancer related. This means if you own two dogs, the chances are one of them is going to get some type of cancer.

“Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence in animals by affecting one or more stages of cancer development.” according to the National Cancer Institute. You can find this online in their website. I also found a report online by CBS NEWS in Denver which quotes the Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at CU Denver, “There’s no doubt, if you feed an animal this stuff, they’re going to get less cancer,”Dr. Robert Sclafani.

I strongly recommend you go to Resvantage Canine’s website ( www.resvantagecanine.com ) and read about their product. And if you are interested in taking resveratrol yourself, go to www.resvantage.com to see their human product.

Best wishes,


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