Calorie restriction extends lifespan and confers metabolic benefits similar to the effect of lifestyle interventions. Poor compliance to long-term dietary restriction, however, hinders the success of this approach. Evidence is now persuasive for a role of resveratrol supplementation (a polyphenol in red grapes) as potential alternative to calorie restriction. This review summarizes the latest literature on the effects and the molecular mechanisms by which calorie restriction and resveratrol confer health benefits. Resveratrol activates SIRT1 and the associated improvement in energy utilization and insulin sensitivity closely resembles the benefits of calorie restriction. Current data largely support resveratrol as a potential calorie restriction mimetic to improve metabolic and probably functional health. Future studies which characterize the bioavailability and efficacy of resveratrol supplementation are critical to provide evidence for its long-term health benefits.
Keywords: AMPK; Calorie restriction; Energy metabolism; Resveratrol; SIRT1.
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