June 17, 2008

Resveratrol May Help Fight Fat, Help Heart

Resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, reduces the number of fat cells and may one day be used to treat or prevent obesity, Germans researchers suggest.

Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany used a strain of human fat cell precursors, called preadipocytes that develop into mature fat cells.

Lead author Pamela Fischer-Posovszky said that in the cell-based study, resveratrol inhibited the pre-fat cells from increasing and prevented them from converting into mature fat cells. In addition, resveratrol hindered fat storage.

However, Fischer-Posovszky said that most interestingly, resveratrol reduced production of certain cytokines -- substances that may be linked to the development of obesity-related disorders, such as diabetes and clogged coronary arteries. Also, resveratrol stimulated formation of a protein known to decrease the risk of heart attack.

The finding is consistent with the theory that the resveratrol in red wine explains the French paradox -- that French people eat a relatively high-fat diet but have a low death rate from heart disease.

The findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 90th annual meeting in San Francisco.