Co-senior author Jason Dyck and Sandra Davidge of the University of Alberta and colleagues found giving resveratrol -- also found in fruits, nuts and red wine -- to the young offspring of lab rats after weaning, prevented the development of a metabolic syndrome characterized by glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and higher deposits of abdominal fat.
The study took advantage of the fact that "infancy is a potential window of opportunity to intervene and prevent the future development of metabolic diseases," the researchers say.
"There is a concept that in utero, there are genetic shifts that are occurring -- reprogramming is occurring because of this strenuous environment babies are in, that allows them to recover very quickly after birth," Dyck says in a statement. "When babies are growth-restricted, they usually have a catch-up period after they are born where they catch up to non-growth-restricted groups. It might be that reprogramming that creates this kind of 'thrifty' phenotype, where they want to consume and store and get caught up. That reprogramming appears to make them more vulnerable to developing a host of metabolic problems."
The findings were published in the journal Diabetes.