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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Aaahhh, the Joys (and Science) of Resveratrol and Red Wine

By Michael McBurney

When my RSS reader displayed “Dark chocolate, red wine good for the heart”, it was the promise of a good day! How much more could one want? Nutrition and pleasure in the same swallow. A deeper dive into the scientific literature helps explain mechanisms of action.

Konings and colleagues report that resveratrol supplementation decreased fat cell size and altered lipid catabolism pathways. Eleven obese, healthy men (40-65y) participated in two 30d trials (placebo and 150 mg resveratrol daily) separated by a 4 week washout. During both interventions, they consumed a high-fat liquid test meal and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were taken 6h postprandially. Reseveratrol decreased abdominal subcutaneous adipocyte size. There was also a shift away from larger to smaller adipocytes.  Previously, Timmers and colleagues reported (using data from the same men) that taking 150 mg resveratrol daily mimics the effects of calorie restriction by significantly reducing sleeping and resting metabolic rate. In the latest paper, Konings and associates suggest that reduced adipocyte size may affect insulin sensitivity.

Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound found in grapes and red wine, is an antioxidant which has been shown to help suppress inflammation and improve biomarkers of metabolic function.  Resveratrol supplementations (75 mg daily) for 6 weeks increased a biomarker of cardiovascular health, brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), by 23% (vs placebo) in overweight individuals with mild hypertension.

Now that my work day has started, I have additional scientific justification for my evening indulgence!

Main Citation

Konings E, Timmers S, Boekschoten MV, Goossens GH, Jocken JW, Afman LA, Muller M, Schrauwen P, Mariman EC, Blaak EE. The effects of 30 days resveratrol supplementation on adipose tissue morphology and gene expression patterns in obese men. 2014 Int J Obesity doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.155

Other Citations

Timmers S, Konings E, Bilet L, Houtkooper RH, van de Weijer T, Goossens GH, Hoeks J, van der Krieken S, Ryu D, Kersten S, moonen-Kornips E, Hesselink MKC, Kunz I, Schrauwen-Hinderling VB, Blaak EE, Auwerx J, Schrauwen P. Calorie restriction-like effects of 30 days of resveratrol supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans. 2011 Cell Metab doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2011.10.002

Wong RH, Howe PR, Buckley JD, Coates AM, Kunz I, Berry NM.  Acute resveratrol supplementation improves flow-mediated dilatation in overweight/obese individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure. 2011 Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2010.03.003