Resveratrol may improve blood flow in the brain: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStockPhoto / SIphotography
Image: iStockPhoto / SIphotography

Related tags Resveratrol

Supplements of the polyphenol were found to increase blood flow in the brains of people with type 2 diabetes, a population known to be at increased risk of cognitive decline because of microvascular dysfunction.

Single (acute) doses of DSM Nutritional Products’ resVida product of 75, 150, and 300 mg were given at weekly intervals and found to increase cerebral vasodilator responsiveness (CVR) in the middle cerebral arteries.

The study, performed by scientists from the University of Newcastle (New South Wales) and Swinburne University (Victoria) in Australia, is said to be the first clinical evidence of an enhancement of vasodilator responsiveness in blood vessels in the brain.

“Importantly, the maximum improvement was observed with the lowest dose used,” ​wrote the researchers in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

“They also affirm the safety of this treatment in adults with [type 2 diabetes] who are on oral hypoglycemic therapy.”


The study adds to an ever growing body of science supporting the potential benefits of resveratrol.

Interest in the polyphenol exploded in 2003 when research from David Sinclair and his team from Harvard reported that resveratrol was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The research, published in Nature​, was greeted with international media fanfare and ignited flames of hope for an anti-ageing pill.

According to Sinclair’s findings, resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin1 (Sirt1 – the yeast equivalent was Sir2), which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species, including monkeys.

Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

Study details

The Australian researchers recruited 36 type 2 diabetics to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled, balanced crossover intervention. The participants did not have dementia, nor were they insulin dependent diabetics.

Single doses of 0, 75, 150, or 300 mg of synthetic trans-resveratrol were given at weekly intervals, and CVR was measured before and 45 min after the dosing.

Results showed that CVR increased in the middle cerebral arteries by 13.8% for the 75mg dose of resveratrol, by 8.9% for the 150 mg dose, and by 13.7% for the 300 mg dose. On the other hand, CVR in the posterior cerebral arteries was only significantly increased by the 75mg dose (13.2%).

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Image © iStockPhoto / pisagor

“These results need to be confirmed in a chronic resveratrol supplementation trial to improve cerebrovascular function and reduce arterial stiffness in well-controlled [type 2 diabetes] who are not on insulin therapy and in other populations at heightened risk of cerebrovascular disease and associated pathologies,” ​wrote the researchers. “Moreover, the findings of this study give a good indication that benefits may be achievable with lower doses of resveratrol.

“The sustained benefits of resveratrol on systemic and cerebral circulations and its potential for improving cognitive function in [type 2 diabetes] with chronic dosing regimes should now be evaluated.”

Source: Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2016.03.003
“Low dose resveratrol improves cerebrovascular function in type 2 diabetes mellitus”
Authors: R.H.X. Wong, R.S. Nealon, A. Scholey, P.R.C. Howe

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