Resveratrol and Obesity
By Mark Juliano | September 21, 2009 (published on eZine Articles)
Obesity, Weight Control, Longevity and Resveratrol
Obesity has been termed an “epidemic” of staggering proportions by many doctors, scientists, scholars, and sociologists. Its complications are now seen by many as being the leading cause of death in America and many other industrialized nations.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – More than 33% of U.S. adults – more than 72 million people – and 16% of U.S. children are obese. Since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled. Obesity rates among all groups in society – irrespective of age, sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education level, or geographic region – have increased markedly.
The term obesity is clinically defined based upon a scale that closely correlates with body fat and metabolism called the Body Mass Index, which is calculated based upon height and weight.
Costs are skyrocketing …
In 2000, obesity-related health care costs totaled an estimated $117 billion. From 1980 to 1998, annual hospital costs related to obesity among children and adolescents rose from $35 million to $127 million.
And most startling…
“If this trend continues, the current generation of American children may be the first generation with a shorter lifespan than their parents,” according to Priya C. Stephen, M.D. at Princeton HealthCare System.
Obesity Has Serious Health Consequences …
A wide range of illnesses and complications have been partially attributed to obesity including:
* Heart disease
* Type 2 diabetes
* Cancer (endometrial, breast, and colon)
* Hypertension (high blood pressure)
* High cholesterol
* Liver and gallbladder disease
* Respiratory problems
* Osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone)
What Causes Obesity?
The determinants of obesity in the United States are complex, numerous, and operate at all social, economic, environmental, psychological and physiological levels. American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, non-healthful foods, and physical inactivity.
You Are What You Eat …
The book Fast Food Nation, and movie Supersize Me, as well as countless articles, studies and reports all point to a growing propensity among people to, frankly, eat foods that are not good for them such as hot dogs, French fries, cookies, crackers, processed foods and foods containing trans fats. Not to mention that many people simply eat too much and consume too many calories (and exercise too little).
Scientists Study Obese Mice
In 2006, Dr. Joseph Baur and Dr. David Sinclair reported their findings in a seminal paper in Nature magazine. They tested over 20,000 compounds and identified nineteen (19) compounds that activate so-called “survival genes”, seventeen (17) of which are polyphenols found in red wine grapes, including Resveratrol, Quercetin, and Catechin. These compounds were found to activate sirtuin (SIRT) genes when ingested by mice.
Using the leading SIRT-activator, Resveratrol, these scientists performed survival gene studies on mice, which produced two startling results: 1) overall lifespan was extended between 20 – 50%, and 2) mice fed a high-calorie diet (obese mice) lived as long as normal mice, and the incidence of age-related diseases was dramatically lowered compared to those mice not taking Resveratrol.
Resveratrol – the Fountain of Youth and Weight Loss?
Resveratrol, and other red wine grape polyphenols, have been shown to increase metabolic activity, which can go a long way towards helping people lose weight, and maintain a healthy weight. When SIRT genes are activated, weight gain seems to be prevented, even when a high fat diet is being consumed, by inhibiting fat storage. Resveratrol has also been shown to reduce the number of fat cells in laboratory mice in several studies. When the body is storing fewer fat cells, the aging process can also be slowed by reducing age and obesity related conditions and diseases.
Research findings from the University of Ulm (Germany) concluded that Resveratrol holds promise in the treatment of obesity and obesity related disorders such as diabetes and clogged coronary arteries.
So, Should We All Live “Fat and Happy” Lives and Just Take Resveratrol and Drink Red Wine?
In a word, no! It still makes sense to eat the right foods, eat the right amount of foods, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise. But Resveratrol and red wine grape polyphenols may help those, who for whatever reasons, have difficulty controlling their weigh, live longer, and live longer healthier.
For more information on the health benefits of Resveratrol visit the Vinomis Laboratories website