"Resveratrol is active in much lower doses than previously thought," said Tomas Prolla, a UW professor of genetics and a senior author of the new report.
The group explored the agent's influence on the heart, muscle and brain by looking to see which genes were switched on and off during the aging process.
In the new study -- which compared the genetic responses of animals to either restricted diets or normal diets including small doses of resveratrol -- the similarities were remarkable, explains lead author Jamie Barger of Madison, Wis.-based LifeGen Technologies, who spearheaded the research.
In the heart, for example, there are at least 1,029 genes whose functions change with age. In animals on restricted diets, 90 percent of those heart genes experienced alterations in gene expression, while low doses of resveratrol thwarted age-related change in 92 percent. The new findings, say the study's authors, reveal how red wine's special ingredient helps keep the heart young.
In short, the authors note that a glass of wine or food or supplements containing even small doses of resveratrol are likely to help stave off cardiac aging.
That finding, may also explain the remarkable heart health of people who live in some regions of France where diets are soaked in saturated fats but the incidence of heart disease, a major cause of mortality in the United States, is low. In France, meals are traditionally complemented with a glass of red wine.
"There must be a few master biochemical pathways activated in response to caloric restriction, which in turn activate many other pathways," explained Prolla. "And resveratrol seems to activate some of these master pathways as well."
Resveratrol is currently sold over-the-counter as a nutritional supplement with supposed anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-inflamm
|Contact: Ann Griswold|
University of Florida