Resveratrol is a polyphenol with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been widely publicized for its cardiovascular, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-aging benefits. Studies have also shown significant benefits in cognitive decline, insulin resistance, and inflammatory disorders.
A review published last month in Nutrients analyzed human clinical studies published over the past decade and summarized the role resveratrol may play in human health.
A few human studies have shown an association between resveratrol supplementation and delay or prevention of cognitive decline. After 52 weeks of treatment, some subjects showed a reduction in cerebrospinal fluid or plasma levels of beta amyloid. Resveratrol improves cerebral blood flow and appears to regulate neuro-inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Dosing in these patients ranged from 500 mg up to 2 grams per day.
Resveratrol may act as a chemoprotective compound and mimics calorie restriction by decreasing insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and IGF-binding proteins. The highest reduction was seen at 2.5 grams per day.
Resveratrol also has some positive findings for patients with type 2 diabetes. It activates AMPK, which upregulates mitochondrial biogenesis and stimulates glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation, improving insulin sensitivity. Dosing has ranged from 150 mg – 3 grams per day.
Studies also support a beneficial role for resveratrol in cardiovascular disease and improving endothelial function in overweight individuals with borderline hypertension, with a minimum effective dose of 270 mg per day. Lower doses did not influence relevant metabolic risk markers or inflammation.
Resveratrol has been widely studied for potential effects on conditions associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Again, lower doses (75 mg per day) showed no effect on relevant biomarkers, but in a study in individuals undergoing peritoneal dialysis, a dose of 450 mg per day for 12 weeks improved urinary ultrafiltration and decreased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Researchers posited that low doses of resveratrol, or single high doses, don’t appear to have much effect, and that the benefits attributable to the compound may require moderate and continued dosing.
Resveratrol acts through several mechanisms, including binding and activating estrogen receptors to increase nitric oxide bioavailability and facilitate vasodilatation. In addition, it decreases reactive oxygen species production in vascular endothelial cells. Oxidative stress is elevated in chronic disease such as obesity and diabetes.
The results of human studies published over the past decade support resveratrol supplementation as a potential strategy for improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity as well as mitigating arterial stiffness and reducing blood pressure and oxidative damage in patients with type 2 diabetes. In addition, resveratrol may have a role as an adjunct for patients with cognitive decline or cancer.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS