Why Resveratrol May Be Useless to Women

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Resveratrol May Be Useless to WomenIn Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, we have spent a great deal of time talking about the health benefits of resveratrol. This key natural chemical within red grapes and red wine has been found to have excellent disease-preventing qualities. But, a new study says those benefits may not exist for healthy women.

Resveratrol has been previously found to moderate insulin sensitivity (thus helping diabetics), reduce risk of heart disease, and even increase the length of your life. But, a study of 29 post-menopausal women without Type 2 diabetes, and who were reasonably healthy, did not find such benefits.

PLUS: Looking at the powers of resveratrol

For 12 weeks, half the women in the study took an over-the-counter resveratrol supplement, and the rest a placebo. The dosage was 75 milligrams of resveratrol a day—an amount equivalent to eight liters (almost 11 standard bottles) of red wine. The researchers compared the women’s insulin sensitivity to those on placebo, measuring how effective their bodies were in moving glucose from the bloodstream into cells and muscles.

It was a very sensitive approach for evaluating insulin action, according to the researchers. Even still, they could not detect any effect from the resveratrol. They even took small samples of muscle and fat tissue to look for resveratrol’s effects there, but could not find any changes. Although it was a small study, the results are pretty clear.

Resveratrol supplements are increasingly popular, largely because of a pile of health breakthroughs over the years that found resveratrol could improve metabolic function and prevent or even reverse certain health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But, unfortunately, resveratrol does not exert metabolic benefits in relatively healthy, middle-aged women.

It was surprising because earlier studies suggested that drinking red wine lowers the risk of health problems. Most studies in people have looked at diabetics, obese individuals with metabolic syndrome, and older adults with impaired glucose tolerance. This may well remain true, but if you are in healthy standing, a bottle of resveratrol supplements is unlikely to deliver similar benefits to you.

Most people have heard about red wine’s health benefits, and want to take resveratrol supplements to get those benefits without consuming large amounts of alcohol. In recent years, annual U.S. sales of resveratrol supplements have risen to $30.0 million. But, the study indicates that at least some of those people are wasting their money.

The potential exists that something other than resveratrol (or as well as) is truly behind red wine’s heart benefits.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Why Resveratrol May Be Useless to Women
Yoshino, J,, et al., “Resveratrol supplementation does not improve metabolic function in non-obese women with normal glucose tolerance,” Cell Metabolism published online October 25, 2012.