Resveratrol Extends Life in Bees, But Probably Through Calorie Restriction

In comparison to the ubiquitous fruit fly various species of bee do not often feature in studies on longevity and metabolism. Here researchers tested resveratrol on bees and found an extension of life:

To test whether honey bee lifespan, learning performance, and food perception could be altered by resveratrol, we supplemented the diets of honey bees and measured lifespan, olfactory learning, and gustatory responsiveness to sucrose. Furthermore, to test the effects of resveratrol under metabolic challenge, we used hyperoxic environments to generate oxidative stress. Under normal oxygen conditions, two resveratrol treatments - 30 and 130 μM - lengthened average lifespan in wild-type honey bees by 38% and 33%, respectively. Both resveratrol treatments also lengthened maximum and median lifespan. In contrast, hyperoxic stress abolished the resveratrol life-extension response.

The gloss is off resveratrol, you might recall, with studies showing increasingly little of interest in terms of concrete results. The same goes for once-hyped sirtuins: again, little to show for a great deal of time and money expended, and no great expectation that this state of affairs will change.

Given all of that it is at first interesting to see research results in which resveratrol clearly extends life. The details, however, once again show the need to watch all such studies for signs of reduced calorie intake. Calorie restriction has a strong effect on longevity in almost all species studied to date, and here resveratrol probably achieved its extension of life through suppressing appetite in the bees:

resveratrol treatment did significantly change the gustatory responsiveness score. Unsupplemented honey bees exhibited greater responsiveness to sugar during this test, while animals supplemented with resveratrol were less responsive to sugar. ... We hypothesized that an altered gustatory response score could indicate that resveratrol was eliciting a satiety effect on honey bees. This prompted us to measure individual food consumption in resveratrol-supplemented and unsupplemented subjects.

The bees consuming resveratrol ate approximately 25% less by the look of it - well into moderate calorie restriction territory.

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