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Red wine compound could treat diabetes, obesity

A compound found in red wine may eventually treat age-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

A Massachusetts-based drug company, Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, has found that a reformulated version of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, improved the body’s ability to break down sugar – and prevented mice from becoming obese.

In trials Sirtris’s SRT501 drug was showed that those taking resveratrol improved their score on an oral glucose tolerance test, which measures the body’s ability to break down and use sugar, a fundamental problem for diabetics.

According to Sirtris spokesman John Lacey, trials in November 2006 with rodents indicated that SRT501 prevented lab mice on a ‘Western diet’ from becoming obese. Control mice on the same diet which were not given the drug became obese.

Like the pre-clinical trial where treated mice showed improved glucose levels, the now completed human trial also showed improved glucose levels.

The 28-day test of 98 diabetes patients in India concluded in January is ‘the first known human trial to target the genes associated with aging,’ Lacey said. The testing was done in India because of the availability of people with diabetes who are not being treated.

Lacey told decanter.com that people with diabetes or those suffering from obesity should not see red wine as a cure, as resveratrol in wine is ‘unstable’ and not easily absorbed into the blood stream.

‘You would have to drink 1,000 bottles to get an effect,’ he said.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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