Public Release: 

Prunetin prolongs lifespan in male fruit flies and enhances overall health

New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that oral administration of prunetin, found in lima beans, increased climbing activity and reduced glucose levels in male fruit flies but not in females

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Here's a reason for men to eat their lima beans--If research in male fruit flies holds up, it might help you live longer. A new research report published in the February 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal, shows that administering an oral dose of prunetin to male fruit flies extends lifespan, increases fitness levels, and improves their glucose balance. This effect was not found in females. Prunetin is a plant-derived compound that belongs to the isoflavone group.

"Our study provides novel insights into plant bioactive research and suggests a potential to combat aging comparatively simple by the intake of a plant bioactive," said Anika E. Wagner, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science at Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, in Kiel, Germany. "Further studies in mammalian species/humans are needed to validate initial data which were generated in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster."

To make their discovery, scientists separated fruit flies according to sex prior to the start of the experimental treatment to compare prunetin-mediated effects on both males and females. The flies were then chronically administered either a prunetin-containing diet or a prunetin-free control diet. The flies were monitored every other day, and dead flies were counted. The researchers found that prunetin-fed male flies lived longer than those receiving the control diet. To evaluate their health state / fitness, the flies were coerced to climb up in a transparent tube and the distance which they could overcome in a defined time period was calculated.

"This research shows that the connection between diet and health is important for all living animals, no matter how complex or how simple they are," said Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "There is a lot of work that must be done before we would know if this compound will be useful to humans, but it certainly doesn't hurt to add lima beans to more men's diets."

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Receive monthly highlights from The FASEB Journal by e-mail. Sign up at http://www.faseb.org/fjupdate.aspx. The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). It is the world's most cited biology journal according to the Institute for Scientific Information and has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century.

FASEB is composed of 30 societies with more than 125,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Its mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.

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