The Science Behind the Hype: Resveratrol in Wine & Chocolate
Posted September 06, 2012
It is hard to imagine a way to improve the appeal of a glass of red wine and a bar of chocolate; indeed, most people need little incentive to indulge more often. Yet recent research suggests that perhaps we should do just that. A few years ago, resveratrol—a compound found in red wine and dark chocolate—made a splash in the news as an anti-aging wonder. Although resveratrol may offer health benefits and has shown some signs of affecting longevity in laboratory models, research is only in its early stages. Since the media touts a new food as a fountain of youth almost daily, it can be difficult to separate the facts from the sales pitches. To explicate the latest research behind these claims, the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science and Science & the City presented a seminar titled
The New York Times. Times Topic: Resveratrol. A synopsis of the recent coverage of resveratrol research as well as links to NY Times articles that cover the work.
Mayo Clinic. Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Books and Journal Articles
Baur J. Resveratrol, sirtuins, and the promise of a DR mimetic. Mech. Ageing Dev. 2010;131(4):261-9.
Baur JA, Sinclair DA. Therapeutic potential of resveratrol: The in vivo evidence. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 2006;5(6):337-342.
Colman RJ, Anderson RM, Johnson SC, et al. Caloric restriction delays disease onset and mortality in rhesus monkeys. Science. 2009;325(5937):201–204.
Kennedy DO, Wightman EL, Reay JL, et al. Effects of resveratrol on cerebral blood flow variables and cognitive performance in humans: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2010;91(6):1590–1597.
Lagouge M, Argmann C, Gerhart-Hines Z, et al. Resveratrol improves mitochondrial function and protects against metabolic disease by activating SIRT1 and PGC-1alpha. Cell. 2006;127(6):1109–1122.
Li Y, Xu W, McBurney MW, Longo VD. SirT1 inhibition reduces IGF-I/IRS-2/Ras/ERK1/2 signaling and protects neurons. Cell Metab. 2008;8(1):38–48.
Maroon J. The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life. New York, NY: Atria Books; 2009.
Mattison JA, Roth GS, Beasley TM, et al. Impact of caloric restriction on health and survival in rhesus monkeys from the NIA study. Nature. Aug 29, 2012. [Epub ahead of print].
Price NL, Gomes AP, Ling AJY, et al. SIRT1 is required for AMPK activation and the beneficial effects of resveratrol on mitochondrial function. Cell Metab. 2012;15(5):675–690.
Smoliga JM, Baur JA, Hausenblas HA. Resveratrol and health — A comprehensive review of human clinical trials. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2011;55(8):1129-1141.
Streppel MT, Ocké MC, Boshuizen HC, Kok FJ, Kromhout D. Long-term wine consumption is related to cardiovascular mortality and life expectancy independently of moderate alcohol intake: the Zutphen Study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009;63(7):534–540.
Timmers S, Konings E, Bilet L, et al. Calorie restriction-like effects of 30 days of resveratrol supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans. Cell Metab. 2011;14(5):612–622.
Wong RHX, Howe PRC, Buckley JD, et al. Acute resveratrol supplementation improves flow-mediated dilatation in overweight/obese individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;21(11):851–856.
Joseph Baur, PhD
Joseph Baur holds a PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he studied mechanisms that limit the lifespan of cultured human cells. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, where he developed a strong interest in the regulation of aging and metabolism by sirtuins, a conserved class of enzymes that regulate lifespan in lower organisms. Baur was the first to show that resveratrol, a small molecule with many effects, including activation of the sirtuin SIRT1, is able to improve insulin sensitivity and extend lifespan in obese mice. Baur is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Medicine, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism and the Department of Physiology.
Jaclyn Jansen, PhD
Jaclyn Jansen earned her PhD in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology from Northwestern University. As a graduate student she studied a conserved network of proteins that control mother-daughter differentiation in budding yeast. Jansen is a postdoctoral fellow in Bruce Stillman's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She is studying chromatin remodeling during DNA replication. In addition to her activities at the bench, Jansen is particularly interested in science outreach programs that bring research science to the broader public audience.