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Red Wine Compound Helps Heart, May Slow Aging

Resveratrol mimics effects of caloric restriction to extend life spans in mice

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, red wine, pomegranates and certain other foods, may protect the heart and slow the effects of aging, a new study suggests.

Tests in mice revealed that low doses of resveratrol mimic the effects of caloric restriction, diets with 20 percent to 30 percent fewer calories than a typical diet that have been shown to extend life span.

Previous research has shown that high doses of resveratrol prevent early death in mice fed a high-fat diet. This new study adds to those findings, showing that receiving low doses of resveratrol in middle age offers many of the benefits as a calorie-reduced diet.

"This brings down the dose of resveratrol toward the consumption reality mode. At the same time, it plugs into the biology of caloric restriction," co-senior author Richard Weindruch, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a prepared statement.

"Resveratrol is active in much lower doses than previously thought and mimics a significant fraction of the profile of caloric restriction at the gene expression levels," co-senior author Tomas Prolla, a professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a prepared statement.

The researchers found that resveratrol affected age-related gene expression changes in the heart tissue of mice. The study was published online this week in the Public Library of Science One.

"There must be a few master biochemical pathways activated in response to caloric restriction, which in turn activate many other pathways. And resveratrol seems to activate some of these master pathways as well," Prolla said.

DSM Nutritional Products of Switzerland and the U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about healthy aging.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Wisconsin, news release, June 3, 2008

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