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A while back there was a lot of noise about resveratrol, a naturally occurring phenol which was touted as a potential anti-aging drug due to its role in regulating the SIRT 1 gene. A number of studies suggested that it could extend the lifespans of model organisms such as D. melanogaster and C. elegans.

Has there been any follow up on this? Have there been any human trials?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's worth noting that earlier this month a large body of resveratrol research was retracted:

The University of Connecticut, in what clearly seems like an attempt to get ahead of damaging news, has announced an “extensive” investigation into research misconduct involving one of its scientists, Dipak K. Das.

According to a press release, the university has notified 11 journals that published Das’ work about the alleged fraud. One area of interest for Das, a government-funded professor of surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center, has been resveratrol, a substance in red wine that has allegedly been linked to improved cardiac health.

Retraction Watch's coverage has been pretty thorough and includes comments and citations:

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Yes, that was huge. Nevertheless, I know very honest people (in other institutions) that have found interesting results using resveratrol both in vitro and in animal models. Although a revisit of the literature will be needed, the field should not be ignored by the acts of one rotten lab. –  Aleadam Jan 20 '12 at 20:32
    
I'm hesitant to upvote this answer. Much of the discussion on Resveratrol and proof of concepts of its pharmacodynamics don't come from Das's lab. –  bobthejoe Feb 28 '12 at 1:29
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@bobthejoe someone needs to outline the evidence from other groups here as an answer then. I'll upvote a well sourced answer –  Amy Feb 28 '12 at 1:34
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Resveratrol has recently been shown to induce cellular senescence (at least at high concentrations, see here) which has the potential to accelerate ageing. Senescent cells display and highly inflammatory phenotype which could damage tissues if not removed. However, Resveratrol itself is rapidly metabolised and it may be these metabolites that have health benefits, but this needs to be researched further.

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If you search clinicaltrials.gov (maintained by the NIH) for "resveratrol", you'll find 44 clinical trials, many of them ongoing or not yet started. A recent review by Smoliga JM et al states in the abstract:

"Although the supporting research in laboratory models is quite substantial, only recently data has emerged to describe the effects of resveratrol supplementation on physiological responses in humans. The limited number of human clinical trials that are available has largely described various aspects of resveratrol's safety and bioavailability, reaching a consensus that it is generally well-tolerated, but have poor bioavailability. Very few published human studies have explored the ability of resveratrol to achieve the physiological benefits that have been observed in laboratory models, although many clinical trials have recently been initiated."

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