The popularity of the Mediterranean Diet and it's apparent impact on longevity has led to research into the substance resveratrol, an ingredient found in red wine and a diet staple in the Mediterranean culture.

After extensive experimentation, doctors have concluded that resveratrol demonstrates the ability to reverse the effects of obesity in mice. In addition, they observed that mice placed on a diet of resveratrol supplements also exhibited higher endurance levels and longer lifespans than mice on a non-supplemented diet.

In a controlled test environment, ordinary mice will normally run approximately one kilometer on a treadmill before collapsing in exhaustion. However, mice that have been given a resveratrol supplement will run twice as far before showing evidence of tiring. In addition, subsequent tests also show that the mice on the resveratrol program demonstrate heightened muscle control and strength and have a significantly reduced resting heart rate when compared to the ordinary mice.

After the success of resveratrol supplement testing on mice and other animals, doctors at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch, France have now completed initial human experiments that demonstrate that similar results can be obtained in human test subjects that are placed on a program of high quality resveratrol supplementation.

The key to resveratrol's effects on the body are in the substance's ability to work at a cellular level to increase the production of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the organisms in the body that generate energy. The extra mitochondria in the treated mice resulted in the ability to burn more fat and to optimize muscle functions.

Dr. Ronald M. Evans, a scientist at the Salk Institute and an expert on the hormonal control of metabolic functions, stated that the report by the French genetics team had "shown very convincingly that resveratrol improves mitochondrial function" and wards off metabolic disease. Evans characterized described the study as "very important, because it is rare that we identify orally active molecules, especially natural molecules, that have such a broad-based, positive effect on a problem which is as widespread in society as metabolic disease."

A drug that can prevent degenerative disease, promote weight loss, prolong life, and reshape an individual into a highly trained athlete sounds like the stuff of science fiction. But doctors are convinced that their work into the effects of resveratrol and resveratrol synergy have led to some surprising advancements in the area of anti-aging. They now believe that the body's ability to utilize sirtuins, enzymes that protect and energize our systems, declines with age. This is the process that is reversed by resveratrol.

The growing evidence supporting the benefits of resveratrol has enthused scientists who do research on the aging process, several of whom are already taking resveratrol supplements. Dr. David Sinclair, a scientist at the anti-aging drug research company Sirtris, has been taking resveratrol supplements in liquid and capsule form for over three years. He claims that half the members of his laboratory do the same and that he is encouraging use of the supplements to family and friends. There are a range of views on appropriate resveratrol dosages, but this involves detailed debate around ingredient purity and potency.

Author's Bio: 

J.D. Bell is a former professional nutrition and fitness counselor who is now primarily focused on being a first time father at age 45.

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