Wednesday, 24 March 2021 14:15

Resveratrol can contribute to healthy ageing in women

This double-blind placebo-controlled trial evaluated the benefits of low-dose resveratrol supplementation on various aspects of healthy ageing in post-menopausal women.

Dementia and cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in older women. Over 55 years old women have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than their male counterparts or younger women. The rapid mid-life decline in circulating estrogen following menopause is partly responsible for these differences. Estrogen plays an important role for memory retention, metabolic regulation and bone health in pre-menopausal women. Thus, the loss of estrogen may advance age-related cognitive impairment and increase the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

In this 2 year, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 125 healthy post-menopausal women (aged 45-85 years) received 75 mg trans-resveratrol or placebo twice daily for 12 months and then switched over to the alternative treatment for another 12 months (crossover)1. The differences between the treatment groups were evaluated by measuring cognition, brain function and cardiovascular parameters.

The results showed that compared to placebo, regular supplementation with a low dose of resveratrol twice a day improved overall cognitive performance and cerebrovascular function and further demonstrated its ability to improve insulin sensitivity.

Analyses of subgroups showed that women above the age of 65 showed a relative improvement in verbal memory with resveratrol compared to those younger than 65 years. The authors hypothesize that the observed improved cognitive benefits have - at least partly - to do with changes in the improved cerebral blood flow. Resveratrol has been shown to modulate the blood flow in the brain through various pathways. Being structurally similar and mimicking the activity of 17 beta--estradiol, resveratrol can also act on estrogen alpha and beta receptors which are abundant on the endothelium (lining of blood vessels) of various brain regions to optimize blood flow in the brain and modulate cognition and other brain functions.

The authors conclude that this was the longest resveratrol trial so far. They were able to confirm the sustained benefits of resveratrol supplementation for 12 months on cognitive performance and insulin sensitivity. These benefits can be attributed at least partly to prevent the age-related decline of brain functions by the long-term resveratrol supplementation. The low dose of resveratrol was well tolerated without any side effects. The researchers suggest resveratrol as a possible non-pharmacological option to counter-act age- and menopause-related decline in elderly women.

 

Putting these results into perspective:

The resveratrol content in wine varies but red wine usually contains more than white wine. The average red wine can be expected to contain ∼1.9 ± 1.7 mg trans-resveratrol/L .2, thus the resveratrol supplementation with 75 mg/d described in this study cannot be accomplished with moderate wine consumption. However, it can contribute to the overall intake of resveratrol from natural food sources.

 

 

 

  1. Thaung Zaw JJ, Howe PR, Wong RH. Long-term effects of resveratrol on cognition, cerebrovascular function and cardio-metabolic markers in postmenopausal women: A 24-month randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Clin Nutr. 2021 Mar;40(3):820-829. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2020.08.025. 

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.

 

  1. Weiskirchen S, Weiskirchen R. Resveratrol: How Much Wine Do You Have to Drink to Stay Healthy?. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(4):706-718. Published 2016 Jul 15. doi:10.3945/an.115.011627 . 

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.

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