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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Lipid-Lowering is only one Mechanism of Action for Resveratrol

By Michael McBurney

Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in the skin of red grapes and red wines. Resveratrol may partially explain the French Paradox – low incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) despite high intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Sahebkar conducted a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) using resveratrol and measuring lipid profiles (total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C, and triglycerides). In total, 122 articles were found and 15 met the criteria. Based on 5-6 studies, the author concludes that resveratrol did not affect plasma lipid concentrations. It is difficult to draw strong conclusions since most of the studies were unclear on procedures used for randomization of subjects and concealment of treatment assignment. It may also be a factor of insufficient power (number of subjects) since the overall effect on total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C and triglycerides favored resveratrol but did not reach statistical significance.

Resveratrol has received lots of attention as an ingredient to support cardiovascular health. Wong and colleagues reported a dose-dependent effect of acute resveratrol supplementation on cardiovascular response, measured as flow-mediated dilation. Significant improvements in left ventricle ejection, endothelial function and decreased platelet aggregation were observed in 40 post-infarction subjects (vs placebo) after 3 months of reserveratrol supplementation (Magyar et al, 2012).

In summary, this systematic review on resveratrol and lipids is a call for more research because the jury is out on the lipid-lowering properties of resveratrol until more subjects have been studied under clinically rigorous conditions. In the meantime, the research on maintaining a healthy, reactive cardiovascular system remains strong.

Main Citation

Sahebkar A. Effects of resveratrol supplementation on plasma lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. 2013 Nutr Rev doi:10.1111/nure.12081

Other Citations

Smogliga JM, Baur JA, Hausenblas HA. Resveratrol and health – a comprehensive review of human clinical trials. 2011 Molec Nutr Food Res doi:10.1002/mnfr.201100143

RHX, Howe PRC, 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 Cardiov Dis doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2010.03.003

Magyar K, Halmosi R, Palfi A, Feher G, Czopf L, Fulop A, Battyany I, Sumegi B, Toth K, Szabados E. Cardioprotection by resveratrol: A human clinical trial in patients with stable coronary heart disease. 2012 Clin Hemorheol Microcirc doi:10.3233/CH-2011-1424