Resveratrol could not reverse all the consequences of overeating, since the mice did not lose any weight. However, the study's authors said that their findings could help obese humans in the future.
Resveratrol is found in red grapes and wine, and has been shown in previous research to have anti-aging effects in some organisms. For example, resveratrol has been found to extend the lifespan of yeast by 60 percent, worms and flies by 30 percent, and fish by roughly 60 percent.
Researchers looked at the effects of the resveratrol molecule on mammals by observing middle-aged mice fed a high-calorie diet in which 60 percent of the calories came from fat. The mice fed this diet shared many of the same problems -- including obesity, insulin resistance and heart disease -- as humans on equivalent diets.
The researchers discovered that mice given resveratrol alongside their food did not lose weight, but did show decreased glucose levels in addition to healthier heart and liver tissue. Also, the mice fed resveratrol had better motor control and function compared to the mice not fed resveratrol.
In addition to lowered glucose levels, the researchers also concluded that the resveratrol molecule was improving the lifespan of the mice who were fed the chemical. The researching scientists estimated that resveratrol reduced the risk of death in the studied mice on the high-fat diet by about 31 percent.
Although the exact causes of resveratrol on lifespan are not known, the researchers believe the chemical may be activating a gene called SIRT1 -- which is linked to a family of proteins thought to be involved with longevity.
More information on resveratrol can be located at NutrientReference.com.