By Dr. Mercola
What happens when you begin exercising and cutting back on calories? Some may say “weight loss” and “getting healthier,” which are good answers, but researchers have found that resveratrol, a compound in the skin of grapes, blue and purple berries and dark chocolate may impart many of the same neuroprotective benefits that working out and eating smaller portions offers.
In fact, a new study1 reports that resveratrol is comparable to metformin, a drug often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes, as it helps preserve the muscle fibers that break down during the aging process. It can also protect the neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) between neurons, known as synapses.
Synapses are important for voluntary movement because they relay motor commands from neurons in your spinal cord to your muscles. Scientists say they’re hopeful the information will eventually help alleviate the detriments of aging as it did in studies on 2-year-old mice which, in mouse years, is considered elderly.
The mice were treated with resveratrol for a year, during which time the researchers watched how their NMJs performed in comparison with mice fed a typical diet, and found the resveratrol group had fewer age-related symptoms. In fact, their muscles and nerves were more like those of 3-month-old mice.
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Gregorio Valdez, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where the study took place, who had already found that the double benefits of a good diet along with exercise can protect against age-related synapse damage, led the featured study. He explained:
“We all slow down as we get older. Gait, balance issues and impaired motor coordination…