The findings – published in the journal Aging – reveals that when given the red wine compound resveratrol, bees consume less food and live for up to 38% longer.
Previous scientific studies on resveratrol have suggested that it could lengthen the lifespan of many different organisms – ranging from unicellular yeast to fruit flies and mice. However findings in humans have been mixed.
In the new research, an international team of scientists from Arizona State University, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and Harvard Medical School, decided to test the effects of the chemical on the honey bee.
In a series of experiments the team tested the effects of resveratrol on the lifespan, learning ability, and food perception in honey bees. Their research revealed that not only does the compound extend the lifespan of honey bees by 33 to 38%, it also changes the decisions that bees make about food by triggering a "moderation effect" when they eat.
"For the first time, we conducted several tests on the effects of resveratrol by using the honey bee as a model," said Brenda Rascón of Arizona State. "We were able to confirm that under normal living conditions, resveratrol lengthened lifespan in honey bees."
Rascón added that the bees fed resveratrol also ‘surprisingly’ decreased food intake: "The bees were allowed to eat as much as they pleased and were certainly not starving - they simply would not gorge on the food that we know they like.”
“It's possible resveratrol may be working by some mechanism that is related to caloric restriction - a dietary regimen long known to extend lifespan in diverse organisms."
Volume 4, Number 7, full text found here
"The lifespan extension effects of resveratrol are conserved in the honey bee and may be driven by a mechanism related to caloric restriction"
Authors: Brenda Rascón, Basil P. Hubbard, David A. Sinclair, and Gro V. Amdam