The study, titled “Series A: Biological Sciences And Medical Sciences” and published Tuesday in The Journals of Gerontology, revealed that a compound found in the skin of some fruits and peanuts, resveratrol, could protect neurons from the negative effects of aging.
The study examined the effects of both resveratrol and metformin, a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, in mice. The 2-year-old mice were administered resveratrol and metformin beginning at 1 year of age and were tracked closely. The researchers carefully looked at the structures of the mice’s neuromuscular junctions, or NMJs — the connections between nerve cells and muscles — to better determine the effects of the drug and the compound. Researchers concluded that the administered resveratrol could lead to neuroprotection in the mice because of slowed cell aging.
“We found that resveratrol significantly slows aging of NMJs in the extensor digitorum longus muscle of the two-year-old mice,” researchers said. “Resveratrol also preserved the morphology of muscle fibers in old mice.”
The study, which was led by Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, found that the metformin had its own benefits, too. It actually “slowed the rate of muscle fiber aging” in the mice, according to the abstract.
“Metformin is an FDA-approved drug to treat diabetes, but our study hints it may also serve the purpose of slowing the motor dysfunction that occurs with aging,” Valdez said via Medical News Today.
But before you head out to your local wine shop to immediately stock up, research what you’re doing. Valdez warned that the amounts of resveratrol given to the mice might not be easy to replicate. Drinking large quantities of wine would not warrant the same effect as found in the test mice, unfortunately.
“In wine, resveratrol is in such small amounts you could not drink enough of it in your life to have the benefits we found in mice given resveratrol,” he added. “These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.”
That said, the study’s findings are still another step towards determining the potential age-defying effects of resveratrol.