Resveratrol, a natural food compound, improves the energy metabolism of obese men. Furthermore, many health parameters of the men improved after resveratrol supplementation. This is the outcome of research performed by the Maastricht University (UM) in which the effect of resveratrol on metabolism was studied in humans. The study is an important step towards further research into improving the health status of people suffering from obesity and type 2 diabetes by means of food and nutrition. The study was carried out under the flag of TI Food and Nutrition in collaboration with Wageningen University, DSM and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The results are published today as a cover article in the journal Cell Metabolism. In the study, 11 obese men were given – in random order – a placebo or a dietary supplement containing 150 mg/day resveratrol during 30 days. After a period of 4 weeks, the study was repeated with the other supplement. The results demonstrated that resveratrol affects energy metabolism through
activation of the so-called ‘AMPK-SIRT1’ pathway, resulting in a decrease of blood glucose and insulin levels, less fat storage in the liver, enhancement of the mitochondrial function and reduction of levels of inflammation markers in blood. Resveratrol also lowered energy expenditure during sleep, suggesting it improves the total body efficiency. In short: the overall metabolic profile of the obese men improved.Resveratrol is a natural polyphenolic compound present in various dietary components such as red wine, grapes, mulberries and peanuts. Animal studies already proved that resveratrol activates ‘sirtuins’ (SIRT), proteins that are involved in energy metabolism. These sirtuins are also activated when calorie intake is reduced. Resveratrol supplementation thus has the same beneficial effects as occur after calorie-intake reduction, without actually lowering the calorie intake. “This is a real scientific breakthrough”, UM researcher Prof. Dr Patrick Schrauwen says. “For the first time, we demonstrated the health effects of resveratrol in humans. We also gained insight in how this occurs. Therefore, this study marks a starting point for further research to help improving the health status of the still rising number of people suffering from obesity and type 2 diabetes.” Contact: Prof. Patrick Schrauwen. News from: Maastricht University, Netherlands. ~ Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. It is found in the skin of red grapes and in other fruits. However, red wine contains very little of it, in the order of one milligram per glass. Resveratrol has also been produced by chemical synthesis and by biotechnological synthesis (metabolic engineered microorganisms). G.N.
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