Resveratrol has shown evidence of decreasing cancer incidence, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and neural degeneration in animal studies. However, the effects on longevity are mixed. We aimed to quantify the current knowledge of life extension from resveratrol. We used meta-analytic techniques to assess the effect resveratrol has on survival, using data from 19 published papers, including six species: yeast, nematodes, mice, fruitflies, Mexican fruitflies and turquoise killifish. Overall, our results indicate that resveratrol acts as a life-extending agent. The effect is most potent in yeast and nematodes, with diminished reliability in most higher-order species. Turquoise killifish were especially sensitive to life-extending effects of resveratrol but showed much variation. Much of the considerable heterogeneity in our analysis was owing to unexplained variation between studies. In summary, we can report that few species conclusively show life extension in response to resveratrol. As such, we question the practice of the substance being marketed as a life-extending health supplement for humans.
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