A compound in red wine and grapes can extend the life span of obese mice and help them enjoy a healthier old age, scientists say.
The molecule known as resveratrol not only enabled the mice to live longer than other overweight rodents, it also reduced the negative health effects of eating a high-calorie diet.
Resveratrol has been shown to have same effect in studies on yeast, flies and worms. But the scientists say their research is the first to show it works in mammals.
"It is possible to find a molecule that activates the body's natural defences against ageing. You can use it to enhance the health of a mouse or mammal. That is unprecedented," says Associate Professor David Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School.
He adds that the study, reported online today in the journal Nature, is proof of the principle that it works in mammals.
But the real test will be to develop formulations or find other molecules to treat age-related illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer in humans.
Researchers already know that restricting calories can prolong life in mice and other organisms.
Resveratrol seems to mimic the beneficial effects of eating less without the hassle of dieting.
Source - News in science