Harvard Heart Letter

Resveratrol for a longer life - if you're a yeast

The cardiovascular promise of this red wine compound has not been confirmed in humans.

Oh, the hype one molecule can generate. That has been the fate of resveratrol, a substance found in red wine that some research suggests accounts for the cardiovascular benefits of red wine.

Experiments in the early 2000s showed that resveratrol extended the life spans of yeast and other relatively simple organisms. Since then, media reports have extolled its virtues with headlines like "Fountain of youth in the bottom of a wine bottle" and "Want to slow down aging? Pop some red wine pills." Supplement makers have scurried to peddle resveratrol pills and red wine extracts, saying they will prevent heart disease and cancer, conquer obesity, and extend life. Americans have responded, buying millions of dollars worth of such supplements each year.

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