Topics of Interest: Resveratrol

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Resveratrol is a natural compound found in common foods like grapes, wines and nuts. It activates a family of enzymes called sirtuins. Studies over the last few years have found that resveratrol can extend lifespan in yeast, worms, flies, and fish. The compound mimics the effects of calorie restriction in reducing oxidative stress on cells and organs.

In 2006, a collaborative study between labs at the NIA and at Harvard Medical School found that overweight aged male mice whose high-calorie diet was supplemented by resveratrol had better health and survival than aged overweight mice who did not receive it. This was the first study to show that resveratrol could affect the health and survival of mammals.

Since then, additional research has been conducted on resveratrol, notably by NIA and the Harvard group. The compound has received a lot of publicity in the mass media and can be purchased as a food supplement. Consumers should view these supplements with a good deal of caution and doubt. Some harmful side effects already have been discovered; additional research may uncover others.

For more background information, see the NIA Tip Sheet, Can We Prevent Aging?

See NIA research news related to Resveratrol below.