Washington: Resveratrol, a substance found
in red wine and known for its life-extending properties, can
also help combat obesity, a new study has claimed.
The research carried out at the Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique in Paris found that lemurs gained less
weight during their seasonal fattening period when they were
fed resveratrol-ladden dietary supplements regularly.
The supplements also boosted metabolism of the primates
and appeared to cause the animals to cut back their food at
mealtime -- factors that could have contributed to the
anti-obesity effects, the researchers said.
"The overall goal would be to develop some dietary
supplementation or nutrient strategies that could interfere
and decrease body mass gain and obesity," study researcher
Fabienne Aujard told LiveScience.
Also, understanding how resveratrol acts to prevent
weight gain might shed light on general risk factors for
obesity, Aujard said.
Previous studies have suggested resveratrol, which is
generated naturally by plants to ward off pathogens, could
have health benefits, acting as an antioxidant that protects
against cell damage. The compound has also been shown to
increase the life spans of yeast, worms and flies.
A study on mice has shown that it can ward off health
problems that often come along with a high fat diet, including
high blood sugar levels, and heart and liver problems.
To investigate resveratrol`s impact on weight gain,
Aujard and her colleagues fed six gray mouse lemurs daily
doses of the compound.
The lemurs, which weigh about 133 grams on average,
naturally put on grams in the winter time. In this way, lemurs
more closely mimic what happens during real weight gain than
would many rat and mice models, which have to be genetically
altered to get fat.
After four weeks, the lemurs showed a significant
reduction in their weight gain. They initially gained 1.2
grams per day, but dropped to around 0.5 grams per day by the
end of the experiment.
In an obese person, this might translate to a 10 to 15
per cent reduction in the amount of weight they put on, Aujard
The lemurs also had a 29-per cent increase in their
resting metabolic rate, meaning they burned more energy
without increasing their activity.
They also had a 13-per cent decrease in how much they
ate, suggesting the compound could interfere with appetite.
However, more research is needed to determine exactly how
the drug might manipulate appetite, Aujard said.
The results of the latest study will be published in an
upcoming issue of the journal BMC Physiology.