Science News

Good News For Old, Fat Men

Sun, 5th Nov 2006

Part of the show Naked Science Q&A and Record Breaking Fireworks

Now if you're old, overweight and male, then you could be given a new lease of life by chemicals found in grapes, wine and nuts - if you're a mouse that is. Researchers led by a team in the US have found that old male mice on a high-calorie diet enjoyed better health and lived longer if their diet was supplemented with resveratrol, a plant chemical found in those yummy plant-based foods. Over the past few years, other studies have found that resveratrol can help yeast, worms, fruit flies and fish to live longer. It's thought that the chemical switches on proteins known as SIRTs, that are involved in controlling the cell's metabolism and energy use. But this is the first time it's been shown to help mammals increase their lifespan. Unfortunately, a resveratrol pill isn't ready for humans just yet - the scientists warn that we don't yet know how much resveratrol we would need, and how safe it would be in those doses. But I'm sure the odd glass of wine wouldn't hurt, would it?


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