Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Red Wine Helps Lose Weight, Prevent Diabetes

Nature, the respected journal, has reported that red wine may help people lose weight and prevent early onset of diabetes. Red wine is shown to have a substance called resveratrol and it mimics the effects of calorie restriction - the only established way of slowing the aging process.

A substance in red wine previously shown to slow aging in several animal species may help prevent adult-onset diabetes and block other deleterious effects of fattening diets, according to a mouse study published online today by the journal Nature.

While not showing that the compound, resveratrol, had antiaging effects in mice, the study suggested that it mimics some of the effects of calorie restriction, or CR -- the only established way to slow the aging process.

The substance can also increase longevity by 30-40% according to the study.

CR entails cutting normal calorie intake by a third or so to slow aging. Discovered in the 1930s, it has been shown to extend longevity by 30% to 40% in animals. Monkey and human studies suggest it probably also can extend human longevity. But few people can take its hunger pangs. Thus, drugs that mimic its ability to lower the risk of many diseases of aging -- and potentially to extend human life span -- are considered the best bet to bring its benefits to the masses.

The new study indicated that resveratrol-based drugs may yield at least some of those benefits, regardless of whether it mimics CR. Besides warding off various ill effects of high-calorie diets in mice, resveratrol gave the animals a major survival advantage over undosed control animals. The mortality reduction observed so far closely tracks a study on calorie-restricted mice that ultimately had a 20% lifespan extension, according to the study, which was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The animals in the stuyd received doses of resveratrol in much higher doses than those in red wine - equivalent to 100 glasses per day.

Although resveratrol is found in red wine, and is also available in over-the-counter dietary supplement pills, the doses used in the mouse study were far higher than those available from these options. Resveratrol pills haven't been tested in large clinical trials, so their efficacy isn't proven, nor is it clear what dose would yield desired effects.