Study Title:

Resveratrol Prevents Adverse Effects of a Lack of Exercise

Study Abstract

Long-term spaceflight induces hypokinesia and hypodynamia, which, along microgravity per se, result in a number of significant physiological alterations, such as muscle atrophy, force reduction, insulin resistance, substrate use shift from fats to carbohydrates, and bone loss. Each of these adaptations could turn to serious health deterioration during the long-term spaceflight needed for planetary exploration. We hypothesized that resveratrol (RES), a natural polyphenol, could be used as a nutritional countermeasure to prevent muscle metabolic and bone adaptations to 15 d of rat hindlimb unloading. RES treatment maintained a net protein balance, soleus muscle mass, and soleus muscle maximal force contraction. RES also fully maintained soleus mitochondrial capacity to oxidize palmitoyl-carnitine and reversed the decrease of the glutathione vs. glutathione disulfide ratio, a biomarker of oxidative stress. At the molecular level, the protein content of Sirt-1 and COXIV in soleus muscle was also preserved. RES further protected whole-body insulin sensitivity and lipid trafficking and oxidation, and this was likely associated with the maintained expression of FAT/CD36, CPT-1, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) in muscle. Finally, chronic RES supplementation maintained the bone mineral density and strength of the femur. For the first time, we report a simple countermeasure that prevents the deleterious adaptations of the major physiological functions affected by mechanical unloading. RES could thus be envisaged as a nutritional countermeasure for spaceflight but remains to be tested in humans.

From press release:

As strange as it sounds, a new research study published in the FASEB Journal, suggests that the "healthy" ingredient in red wine, resveratrol, may prevent the negative effects that spaceflight and sedentary lifestyles have on people. The report describes experiments in rats that simulated the weightlessness of spaceflight, during which the group fed resveratrol did not develop insulin resistance or a loss of bone mineral density, as did those who were not fed resveratrol.

According to Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "There are overwhelming data showing that the human body needs physical activity, but for some of us, getting that activity isn't easy. A low gravity environment makes it nearly impossible for astronauts. For the earthbound, barriers to physical activity are equally challenging, whether they be disease, injury, or a desk job. Resveratrol may not be a substitute for exercise, but it could slow deterioration until someone can get moving again."

Scientists studied rats that underwent simulated weightlessness by hindlimb tail suspension and were given a daily oral load of resveratrol. The control group showed a decrease in soleus muscle mass and strength, the development of insulin resistance, and a loss of bone mineral density and resistance to breakage. The group receiving resveratrol showed none of these complications. Study results further demonstrated some of the underlying mechanisms by which resveratrol acts to prevent the wasting adaptations to disuse-induced mechanical unloading. This study also suggests that resveratrol may be able to prevent the deleterious consequences of sedentary behaviors in humans.

"If resveratrol supplements are not your cup of tea," Weissmann added, "then there's good news. You can find it naturally in red wine, making it the toast of the Milky Way."

Study Information

I. Momken, L. Stevens, A. Bergouignan, D. Desplanches, F. Rudwill, I. Chery, A. Zahariev, S. Zahn, T. P. Stein, J. L. Sebedio, E. Pujos-Guillot, M. Falempin, C. Simon, V. Coxam, T. Andrianjafiniony, G. Gauquelin-Koch, F. Picquet, S. Blanc.
Resveratrol prevents the wasting disorders of mechanical unloading by acting as a physical exercise mimetic in the rat
The FASEB Journal
2011 June
Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien (IPHC), Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.

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