Skip to Content

Resveratrol Helps Lemurs Lose Weight

The compound from red wine boosts metabolism in primates.
June 22, 2010

Score another point for resveratrol, the red wine compound that has captured headlines for its potential life-extending benefits. The molecule, which extends lifespan in worms and flies and has other health benefits in rodents, may also help weight loss. New research shows it decreases food intake and boosts metabolism in lemurs, small primates endemic to Madagascar.

According to a press release from the open access journal BMC Physiology, where the work was published,

Fabienne Aujard, from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France, worked with a team of researchers to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with resveratrol on the weight, metabolism and energy intake of six mouse lemurs. She said, “The physiological benefits of resveratrol are currently under intensive investigation, with recent work suggesting that it could be a good candidate for the development of obesity therapies. We’ve found that lemurs eating a diet supplemented with the compound decreased their energy intake by 13% and increased their resting metabolic rate by 29%”.

The researchers demonstrated that a four-week resveratrol supplementation was associated with a decrease in food intake and a reduction in seasonal body-mass gain. The response to resveratrol supplementation also involved significant changes in the animals’ body temperatures. According to Dr Aujard, “These results provide novel information on the potential effects of resveratrol on energy metabolism and control of body mass in a primate”.

Previous research has shown that resveratrol can combat the ill-effects of obesity in rodents fed a high-fat diet. But the doses used in both rodent and the lemur studies are too high to be replicated in humans; the equivalent dose for an average person would be about 14 grams per day. Sirtris, a Massachusetts company owned by GlaxoSmithKline, is developing compounds thought to mimic the molecular effects of the resveratrol more potently. One compound is currently in clinical trials for type 2 diabetes. (For more on Sirtris, see The Argument over Aging in TR’s July 2010 issue.)

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.