Science Update

New review demonstrates the benefits of resveratrol in patients with metabolic syndrome

Resveratrol is a polyphenol and a powerful antioxidant.  It is naturally found in nuts, berries, and the skin of grapes, but the concentration in food is low. Studies have been widely publicized for resveratrol’s potential cardiovascular, cognitive, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits.

Previous research with resveratrol has demonstrated improvements in dysglycemia and insulin sensitivity; however, there has been some inconsistency in results.

In a new review published last Tuesday in Nutrients, researchers reviewed 16 controlled trials and evaluated the correlation between resveratrol supplementation and metabolic assessments such as body weight, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, HDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose levels.  

As a result, a significant effect of resveratrol supplementation was seen on reducing blood glucose levels, body weight, waist circumference, and triglycerides. There was also a positive effect on increasing HDL levels but not on total cholesterol. These effects were seen in dosing at 500 mg or greater for over a 10-week period.

Resveratrol activates the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which upregulates mitochondrial biogenesis and stimulates glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation, improving insulin sensitivity. This mechanism modifies the body’s energy balance and body fat accumulation, and increases triglyceride metabolism. It also activates sirtuins, which can increase insulin sensitivity and protect against oxidative damage. These are the same proteins activated by caloric restriction and they may exhibit anti-atherosclerotic effects. Resveratrol mitigates vascular nitric oxide production and endothelial dysfunction, demonstrating its beneficial effects on the underlying issues of metabolic syndrome.

The results of this recent review support resveratrol supplementation as a potential strategy for improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity, as well as mitigating arterial stiffness and oxidative damage in patients with metabolic syndrome. Additional nutrients that should be considered for this condition include inositol, tocotrienols, fish oil, probiotics, and resistant starch.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Asgary S, Karimi R, et al. Effect of resveratrol on metabolic syndrome components: A systemic review and meta-analysis. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2019 May 7.