GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- How do the French get away with a clean bill of heart health despite a diet loaded with saturated fats? Scientists have long suspected that the answer to the so-called "French paradox" lies in red wine. Now, the results of a new study bring them closer to understanding why.
Writing this week in the online, open-access journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE, researchers from industry and academia, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Florida, report that low doses of resveratrol -- a natural constituent of grapes, pomegranates, red wine and other foods -- can potentially boost the quality of life by improving heart health in old age.
The scientists included small amounts of resveratrol in the diets of middle-aged mice and found that the compound has a widespread influence on the genetic causes of aging. Specifically, the researchers found that low doses of resveratrol mimic the heart-healthy effects of what is known as caloric restriction, diets with 20 to 30 percent fewer calories than a typical diet. The new study is important because it suggests that resveratrol and caloric restriction, which has been widely studied in animals from spiders to humans, may govern the same master genetic pathways related to aging.
"Caloric restriction is highly effective in extending life in many species. If you provide species with less food, the regulated cellular stress response of this healthy habit actually makes them live longer," says study author Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, chief of the division of biology of aging at UF's Institute on Aging. "In this study, the effects of low doses of resveratrol (on genes) were comparable to caloric restriction, the hallmark for life extension."
Previous research has shown that high doses of resveratrol extend life in invertebrates and prevent early death in mice given a high-fat diet. The new study extends those findings, showing that resvera
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University of Florida