Powerful Antioxidant Resveratrol Prevents Metabolic Syndrome In Lab Tests

Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta have discovered that resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in common foods, prevents a syndrome in some offspring that could lead to later health issues such as diabetes.

Resveratrol is found in fruits, nuts and red wine, and has been shown to extend the lifespan of many species.

Human offspring that have trouble growing in the womb have an increased risk of developing metabolic problems later in life. But U of A medical researchers Jason Dyck and Sandra Davidge and their teams found that administering resveratrol to the young offspring of lab rats after weaning actually prevented the development of a metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and higher deposits of abdominal fat.

Dyck and Davidge published their findings in a recent edition of the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes. Dyck is a researcher in the departments of Pediatrics and Pharmacology, while Davidge is a researcher in the departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology. Both are also members of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, as well as the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute. Dyck and Davidge were co-senior authors of the study.

The study took advantage of the fact that “infancy is a potential window of opportunity to intervene and prevent the future development of metabolic diseases.” The researchers noted this is the first potential pharmacological treatment that may help babies that developed in a growth-restricted environment in the womb.

“There is a concept that in utero, there are genetic shifts that are occurring – reprogramming is occurring because of this strenuous environment babies are in, that allows them to recover very quickly after birth,” says Dyck.

“When babies are growth-restricted, they usually have a catch-up period after they are born where they catch up to non-growth-restricted groups. It might be that reprogramming that creates this kind of ‘thrifty’ phenotype, where they want to consume and store and get caught up.

“That reprogramming appears to make them more vulnerable to developing a host of metabolic problems.”

Earlier this year, Dyck and Davidge published another paper in Diabetes demonstrating that rat offspring not growing well in the womb had noticeable side effects from high-fat diets after birth – the rats deposited more fat in the abdominal area, developed glucose intolerance, more dramatic cases of insulin resistance and insulin resistance at earlier stages of life.

Dyck and Davidge are continuing their research in this area, examining whether treating the mother during pregnancy can prevent metabolic problems in rat offspring affected by intrauterine growth restriction.

Davidge is an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (AIHS) Scientist and a Canada Research Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health. Dyck is an AIHS Senior Scholar and the Director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the U of A.

 

Reference 

Dolinsky VW, Rueda-Clausen CF, Morton JS, Davidge ST, Dyck JR. Continued postnatal administration of resveratrol prevents diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rat offspring born growth restricted. Diabetes 2011; 60 (9): 2274-84.

 

Dietary Leucine May Fight Prediabetes, Metabolic Syndrome

Joslin study shows improvements in animals with amino acid in diet

BOSTON — June 22, 2011 — A study led by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that adding the amino acid leucine to their diets may help those with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

In an animal study, published in the journal PloS One, mice who had been on a high-fat diet and who also received twice the usual intake of leucine, an amino acid found in protein, showed reductions in their prediabetic conditions with lower blood sugars and less fat in their livers, two of the collection of medical problems associated with insulin resistance that make up what is known as metabolic syndrome.

“The impact on the animals on the high-fat diet, even though it didn’t change how fat they got, was that their bodies were able to handle glucose better,” said C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., Head of the Joslin Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Kahn led the team of researchers from Joslin and Metabolon Inc. of Durham, N.C.

“Their glucose tolerance tests improved,” he said. “Their bodies responded to insulin better than they would have before they got the leucine. It improved their ability to metabolize sugar and fats. It markedly improved their pre-diabetic condition. Their metabolic syndrome also improved.”

Mice who were fed a normal diet and given leucine showed no significant effects from taking the dietary supplement.

Kahn said the study sought to see what effect just a small change in their environment — in this case in just one small component of the diet — might have on animals with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome.

“We found that adding just this one amino acid to the diet changed the metabolism in a lot of different pathways,” he said. “It had effects that improved insulin sensitivity, improved their ability to metabolize sugar and fats and their overall metabolism improved.”

Kahn said the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, shows that even small changes in how we interact with our environment can make a big difference. Such changes can be positive or negative. In this case, they were positive.

He said it is too soon to recommend that those with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome add leucine to their diets, but said the next step should be a study in humans.

Leucine is one of 22 amino acids that serve as building blocks of proteins. It was chosen to be tested because in vitro studies had previously shown that it has effects on insulin signaling, Kahn said. Leucine is found in all protein food sources. It is often taken in supplements by those involved in body building in order to increase muscle mass.