Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Red Wine's Resveratrol May Help Battle Obesity

Resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and red wine, reduces the number of fat cells and may one day be used to treat or prevent obesity, according to a new study.

Past research found that resveratrol protected laboratory mice that were fed a high-calorie diet from the health problems of obesity, by mimicking the effects of calorie restriction. Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany wanted to know if resveratrol could mimic the effects of calorie restriction in human fat cells by changing their size or function. The German team used a strain of human fat cell precursors, called preadipocytes. In the body, these cells develop into mature fat cells, according to the study's lead author, Pamela Fischer-Posovszky, PhD, a pediatric endocrinology research fellow in the university's Diabetes and Obesity Unit.

In the cell-based study, they found that resveratrol inhibited the pre-fat cells from increasing and prevented them from converting into mature fat cells. Also, resveratrol hindered fat storage. Most interesting, according to Fischer-Posovszky, was that resveratrol reduced production of certain cytokines (interleukins 6 and 8), 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. Obesity decreases this substance, called adiponectin.

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

"Resveratrol has anti-obesity properties by exerting its effects directly on the fat cells," Fischer-Posovszky said. "Thus, resveratrol might help to prevent development of obesity or might be suited to treating obesity."

Fischer-Posovszky cautioned that, while the health benefits of resveratrol seem promising, there is not sufficient knowledge about the effects of long-term treatment. One small study found that a single dose of up to 5 grams of resveratrol (much higher than the amount in a bottle of red wine) caused no serious ill effects in healthy volunteers, she pointed out. However, she said another study theorized that resveratrol may stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells, possibly because resveratrol's chemical structure is similar to a phytoestrogen, an estrogen-like substance found in some plants.

Detailed results will be presented at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

This study was partly funded by the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts (Ministerium fuer Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst), Baden-Wuerttemberg.



Consumers' annual income could determine the amount of money they spend on a bottle wine says the Walstreet Journal.
Mid-tier consumers who fall in the $50,000 to $100,000 income range is "selectively deselecting" in what Thom Blischok, president of IRI Innovating and Consulting, called a "substitution strategy." They're choosing to trade-down and buy cheaper wines.

People who earn $100,000 and above are "deprioritizing." They are "asking themselves, 'Do I really need a $100 bottle of wine? Wouldn't a $40 bottle do,'" said Blischok.

Wine & Spirits Daily


New Zealand has just recorded its biggest ever vintage, with yields up almost 40% from last season, according to the New Zealand Wine Growers. Data shoes that 285,000 tons of grapes were harvested in 2008, due mainly to a combination of an increased producing area and favorable growing conditions.

New Zealand is reportedly seeing strong demand in Australia, the UK and the U.S., among other markets. Could New Zealand wines replace Australia as the next big import?

Wine & Spirits Daily