Resveratrol, a phytoalexin, has gained much attention recently due to its effects on sirtuins. While the anti-cancer properties of resveratrol have been extensively investigated, the anti-adipogenic and osteogenic effects of resveratrol are also gaining considerable interest. The finding that resveratrol supplementation mimics caloric restriction prompted researchers to study the effects of resveratrol on lipid metabolism. Mesenchymal stem cells are the precursors for both adipocytes and osteoblasts. In the aging population, differentiation to adipocytes dominates over the differentiation to osteoblasts in bone marrow, contributing to the increased tendency for fractures to occur in the elderly. Thus, an inverse relationship exists between adipocytes and osteoblasts in the bone marrow. Resveratrol acts on several molecular targets in adipocytes and osteoblasts leading to a decrease in adipocyte number and size and an increase in osteogenesis. Furthermore, resveratrol in combination with genistein and quercetin synergistically decreased adipogenesis in murine and human adipocytes. A recent in vivo study showed that phytochemicals including resveratrol in combination with vitamin D prevented weight gain and bone loss in a postmenopausal rat model. Therefore, combinations of resveratrol with other phytochemicals may lead to potential novel potent therapies for both obesity and osteoporosis.
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