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Study identifies genetics of fat metabolism, red wine link

d. Previous studies have shown that resveratrol can increase the activity of SIR2 and increase the lifespan of yeast cells up to 70 percent. And it has also been found that SIRT1, a gene found in both mice and humans, has essentially the same function as SIR2 and the same reaction to stimulus by resveratrol.

In trying to determine the molecular basis for this genetic link to longevity, the new study found that SIRT1 increases the use of fat and reduces the formation of new fat cells apparently it represses one or more fat-regulating proteins and other genes that drive fat storage following calorie restriction. This may have been an evolutionary adaptation for the body to sense short term famine and counter it by increasing the burning of stored body fat, researchers say.

The increased activity of SIRT1 in the presence of resveratrol is clearly of interest, the researchers said, but it's too early to be certain of its effects in humans.

"It would be very premature to suggest that supplements of resveratrol would have any benefits, because this compound oxidizes very quickly and easily loses its metabolic effectiveness," Leid said. "Because of that we have a hard time even studying it in a laboratory setting. But we do know that red wine has fairly high levels of the compound, and this study would suggest at least one mechanism for possible health benefits of red wine. It may help prevent fat development and storage."

Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, and its concentration in wine is a reflection of the time the skins are present during the fermentation process because of that, the levels are much higher in red wine than in white wine or other products. Other sources of the compound include mulberries, peanuts, and some other plants.


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Contact: Mark Leid
mark.leid@oregonstate.edu
541-737-5809
Oregon State University
7-Jul-2004


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