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Resveratrol revs up metabolism, promotes weight loss in first ever primate study

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: resveratrol, metabolism, health news

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(NaturalNews) Resveratrol is a type of phytonutrient known as a polyphenol. Found in the skin of grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, and berries, it has often been hailed as a life-extending natural compound. After all, research in mice and lab rats has indicated it can protect those animals from obesity and diabetes and has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and blood-sugar-lowering effects, too. However, rats and mice are rodents -- and their physiology is in many ways different from the primate family that includes apes, monkeys and, most importantly, human beings.

But now for the first time a study has shown resveratrol has the ability to rev up metabolism and spark weight loss in primates -- and that means the polyphenol might have weight loss and even anti-aging and life-extending benefits in people, too.

Fabienne Aujard, from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France, worked with a team of scientists to document how a diet supplemented with resveratrol impacted the weight, metabolism and energy intake of six mouse lemurs. (Despite their names, mouse lemurs have nothing to do with rodents. Found only on the African island nation of Madagascar, they are mouse-sized primates -- the group that includes apes and humans.)

The study, which was just published in the BMC Physiology journal, showed that after four weeks of resveratrol supplementation there was a significant decrease in the animals' food intake along with a reduction in the body-mass gain lemurs normally experience in winter. The response to the resveratrol supplementation also involved significant changes in the animals' body temperatures. The researchers noted that resveratrol appears to reduce weight by increasing satiety (the feeling of being full) and also by increasing the resting metabolic rate (the amount of energy expended while at rest) -- so the animals burned up more calories even when not exercising.

"We've found that lemurs eating a diet supplemented with the compound (resveratrol) decreased their energy intake by 13 percent and increased their resting metabolic rate by 29 percent," Dr. Aujard said in a statement to the press. "These results provide novel information on the potential effects of resveratrol on energy metabolism and control of body mass in a primate. The physiological benefits of resveratrol are currently under intensive investigation, with recent work suggesting that it could be a good candidate for the development of obesity therapies."

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