21 August 2012

Resveratrol against senile weakness in the legs

The results of a study conducted by scientists at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), working under the guidance of Dr. Jane E. Cavanaugh, showed that the antioxidant resveratrol, contained in red wine and other foods, is able to reduce the severity of motor disorders developing in old age.

According to the American Geriatric Society, about a third of elderly people in the United States have difficulty walking and maintaining balance. Moreover, falls and their consequences are the most common cause of injuries requiring hospitalization and even leading to death of people aged 65 and older.

Motor function disorders most often develop in patients with Parkinson's disease and other age-related neurological diseases. However, according to the authors, modern drugs make it possible to alleviate the manifestations of motor disorders in such patients, whereas there are no analogues that would facilitate maintaining balance and walking for practically healthy elderly people today. They believe that the way out is to use natural compounds such as resveratrol.

The results of earlier studies have shown that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine and fruits with dark–colored peel, helps to suppress inflammatory processes, lowers cholesterol in the blood, reduces the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, and may also have a number of anti–aging effects. Resveratrol is available both in the form of dietary supplements and as part of food, including red grapes, blueberries and nuts.

In order to assess the effect of resveratrol on motor functions, the researchers gave young and old laboratory mice food enriched with resveratrol for 8 weeks. At the same time, they periodically tested the ability of animals to stay on a steel lattice balancer, taking into account how many times each of the animals stumbled. At first, the old mice had difficulty maneuvering on a complex unstable surface, but after four weeks they were in no way inferior to the young animals.

To date, the mechanism of action of resveratrol has not been fully studied. However, the authors may have revealed a few secrets. In the laboratory, they affected neurons with an excessive concentration of the neurotransmitter dopamine causing cell death. However, pretreatment of cells with resveratrol neutralized this detrimental effect. A more detailed analysis showed that resveratrol mitigated the effects of damage caused by the action of free radicals formed during the breakdown of dopamine, and activated protein signaling mechanisms that promote cell survival.

Despite the promising results, Dr. Cavanaugh notes that resveratrol has a number of drawbacks. One of them is low digestibility by the body. According to the results of her calculations, a person with a body weight of about 70 kg should drink 84 liters of red wine in order for the positive effect of resveratrol contained in it to manifest itself. Therefore, scientists are currently studying the possibility of replacing resveratrol with synthetic analogues with greater bioavailability. They are also trying to determine what proportion of resveratrol gets into the brain. It is quite possible that, despite the insignificance of the effect of this compound on the brain, it is enough to help elderly people stay on their feet and avoid serious falls.

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), "An old man with a glass of wine"

The results of the study are presented at the 244th National Congress of the American Chemical Society, which is taking place on August 19-23 in Philadelphia.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on Medical Xpress materials:
Red wine compound could help seniors walk away from mobility problems.


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