Plant compound resveratrol shown to suppresses inflammation, free radicals in humans

July 29, 2010

Resveratrol, a popular plant extract shown to prolong life in yeast and lower animals due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, appears also to suppress inflammation in humans, based on results from the first prospective human trial of the extract conducted by University at Buffalo endocrinologists.

Results of the study appear as a rapid electronic publication on the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism website and will be published in an upcoming print issue of the journal.

The paper also has been selected for inclusion in Translational Research in Endocrinology & Metabolism, a new online anthology that highlights the latest clinical applications of cutting-edge research from the journals of the Endocrine Society.

Resveratrol is a compound produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi, and is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine. It also is produced by chemical synthesis derived primarily from Japanese knotweed and is sold as a nutritional supplement.

Husam Ghanim, PhD, UB research assistant professor of medicine and first author on the study, notes that resveratrol has been shown to prolong life and to reduce the rate of aging in , roundworms and fruit flies, actions thought to be affected by increased expression of a particular gene associated with longevity.

The compound also is thought to play a role in insulin resistance as well, a condition related to oxidative stress, which has a significant detrimental effect on overall health.

"Since there are no data demonstrating the effect of resveratrol on oxidative and inflammatory stress in humans," says Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, UB distinguished professor of medicine and senior author on the study, "we decided to determine if the compound reduces the level of oxidative and inflammatory stress in humans.

"Several of the key mediators of insulin resistance also are pro-inflammatory, so we investigated the effect of resveratrol on their expression as well."

The study was conducted at Kaleida Health's Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York, which Dandona directs.

A nutritional supplement containing 40 milligrams of resveratrol was used as the active product. Twenty participants were randomized into two groups of 10: one group received the supplement, while the other group received an identical pill containing no active ingredient. Participants took the pill once a day for six weeks. Fasting blood samples were collected as the start of the trial and at weeks one, three and six.

Results showed that resveratrol suppressed the generation of free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, unstable molecules known to cause oxidative stress and release proinflammatory factors into the blood stream, resulting in damage to the blood vessel lining.

Blood samples from persons taking resveratrol also showed suppression of the inflammatory protein tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and other similar compounds that increase in blood vessels and interfere with insulin action, causing and the risk of developing diabetes.

These inflammatory factors, in the long term, have an impact on the development of type 2 diabetes, aging, heart disease and stroke, noted Dandona.

Blood samples from the participants who received the placebo showed no change in these pro-inflammatory markers.

While these results are promising, Dandona added a caveat: The study didn't eliminate the possibility that something in the extract other than resveratrol was responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects.

"The product we used has only 20 percent resveratrol, so it is possible that something else in the preparation is responsible for the positive effects. These agents could be even more potent than resveratrol. Purer preparations now are available and we intend to test those."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice

October 27, 2016

Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency ...

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 29, 2010
Resveratrol drug trial suspended on safety concerns: after 20 percent of the trial’s subjects developed kidney damage.

not rated yet Jul 29, 2010

Resveratrol drug trial suspended on safety concerns: after 20 percent of the trial’s subjects developed kidney damage.
not rated yet Jul 29, 2010
This study is too small to draw a meaningful conclusion, it needs to be 10 times larger and 4 times longer.

Personally I think the stuff works and my experience is it is weak to nothing when I was a couch potato and a small but regular boost when I became physically fit again.

My body seems to know now when I'm on or off it though I wish there were conclusive evidence to settle it. If I am facing more harm than good without knowing it I tend to change behaviors when knew valid information is available.
not rated yet Jul 29, 2010
@Roj The article is misleading, the study was testing a resveratrol analog called SRT501 NOT resveratrol.

It was hoped to be several orders of magnitude more effective than resveratrol but whatever the hope, I guess it's risk profile for kidney damage seems to be too high to be useful.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.