Science Update

Recent Meta-Analysis Investigates the Role of Resveratrol in Cardiovascular Disease and Inflammatory Status

Chronic inflammation is associated in literature with the development and progression of certain cardiovascular-related pathologies. Cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, blood vessel disorders, and cerebrovascular disease, account for 17.3 million deaths annually with numbers expected to increase in the next 10 years. Certain botanicals, such as resveratrol, may help support inflammatory status and cardiovascular health.  

Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in grape skins, dark berries, and peanuts. It acts to support antioxidative status by targeting the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor (Nrf2) and helping to support antioxidant protein expression, mitochondrial coupling, and astrocyte activity. It also helps support the attenuation of monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. In addition, resveratrol helps support the suppression of nuclear factor-κB. It may also help promote vascular health by helping to protect the endothelial glycocalyx, the protective layer lining the endothelium.  

A systematic review and meta-analysis published by Teimouri and colleagues explored recent literature to investigate the role of resveratrol in cardiovascular disease and inflammatory status. Teimouri and colleagues aggregated data from six randomized controlled trials that explored the efficacy of resveratrol in individuals with cardiovascular disease. The randomized controlled trials assessed inflammatory status by using the biomarkers C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin (IL)-6. TNF-α and IL-6 are pro-inflammatory cytokines that can be involved in cardiovascular diseases and certain metabolic-related illnesses.  

Among the randomized controlled trials assessed by Teimouri and colleagues, daily resveratrol amounts spanned from 8.1 mg to 500 mg lasting between 28 and 360 days. Sample sizes per study were between 20 and 30 participants. Subgroup analysis revealed that resveratrol amounts >15 mg per day had a significant effect on CRP and TNF-α levels in individuals with cardiovascular disease. CRP and TNF-α were not affected significantly in the subgroup analysis of consumption of resveratrol <15 mg per day.   

The authors reported overall significant decreases in CRP and TNF-α in the presence of resveratrol supplementation in individuals with cardiovascular disease. However, IL-6 did not improve significantly. They also noted that emerging evidence suggests that resveratrol in combination with certain other compounds may have a synergistic effect on human health. Study strengths include focusing on relatively few biomarkers within the realm of cardiovascular disease. Drawbacks to the study include relatively small sample sizes. Future studies with more participants are needed before conclusions can be made.  

The health-supportive role of resveratrol continues to be elucidated in modern research. Resveratrol may support a healthy response to inflammation, cardiovascular health, antioxidant status, and healthy aging.  

By Colleen Ambrose, ND, MAT