Resveratrol Boosts Levels of Fat-Control Hormone

If shoring up heart and cell health isn’t reason enough to try resveratrol, then perhaps help trimming down the midsection will add some extra motivation. A new study from University of Texas Health Center suggests that supplementing daily with the anti-aging compound found in grapes may increase production of a hormone produced by fat cells called adiponectin.

Adiponectin has a wide range of benefits and increased amounts of the hormone are associated with greater insulin sensitivity and reduced bodyweight. The study should interest anyone who is interested in losing weight or growing older, according to the study’s senior author Feng Liu, professor of pharmacology and member of the Barshop Institute of Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center.

The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, may help unravel a novel mechanism by which resveratrol acts to deliver health benefits, apart from its well-reported activation of Sirtuin 1, the “longevity gene.”

Resveratrol is a multifaceted bioactive compound that came to light initially because of its connection to the Mediterranean diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, olive oil and drinking moderate amounts of red wine) and its activation of Sirtuin 1.

Through the Sirtuin 1 pathway, the compound was shown to increase the lifespan of nematode worms and rodents, as well as protect rodents and non-human primates against obesity. In humans, studies have found resveratrol supports cardiovascular and brain health, and reduces oxidative stress in the body.

By rendering the Sirtuin 1 pathway in fat cells inactive, researchers in this latest study were able to find a new mechanism by which resveratrol acts in the cell—through activation of a protein called DsbA-L (disulfide bond-A oxidoreductase-like protein). DsbA-L increases adiponectin production and prevents adiponectin from declining in times of cellular stress.

The study’s findings are largely relevant because of the worldwide prevalence of obesity. Consultation with a healthcare professional is always advised when beginning a weight management program and individual weight loss results will depend on level of activity and caloric intake.

Most people obtain a few milligrams of resveratrol in their diets daily mainly from red wine, grapes, chocolate and peanuts. The average content of resveratrol in a typical bottle of red wine is about 4 milligrams per liter.

Safety studies suggest resveratrol is well tolerated in amounts as high as 5 grams with no marked toxicity.

Previous studies have found that daily doses of trans-resveratrol in amounts of 125 to 250 milligrams support the heart, and at doses as high as 250 to 500 milligrams daily boost bloodflow to the brain.

Source: Wang A, Liu M, Liu X et al. Up-regulation of Adiponectin by resveratrol: the essential roles of the Akt/FOXO1 and AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathways and DsbA-L. J Biol Chem 2011;286:60-6.

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