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Resveratrol

Supplement has no metabolic effect on obese men

Resveratrol, an ingredient in wine, did not have the same metabolic effects in humans as have been observed in animals. Photo: Flickr / Jenny Downing
Four-week high-dose course of resveratrol had no significant effect on several metabolic measurements
Findings raise doubt about justification of use of supplement to treat metabolic disorders

High doses of resveratrol, which is commonly sold as a dietary health supplement, were found to have no significant physiological effect on healthy obese men in a one-month study published in Diabetes.

The study found that high doses of the molecule did not affect a number of measured factors, including insulin sensitivity, glucose production, blood pressure, resting energy expenditure, oxidiation rates of lipid, ectopic or visceral fat content, or inflammatory and metabolic biomarkers.

Resveratrol has previously been posited as having a number of health-giving effects, including life extension, antidiabetic factors, and cardiovascular protection. Previous studies have shown it to extend the life of animals like worms, fruit flies and fish by up to 58%, but similar effects have been difficult to replicate in humans.

The molecule is commonly found in red wine, and has been suggested to be a cause of the French paradox, the idea that French people suffer a relatively low level of heart disease, despite their high-fat diet.

The study compared two randomly-assigned groups of 12 obese men who were given either resveratrol or a placebo. Metabolic examinations were given before and after the treatment.

While the primary outcome measure, insulin sensitivity, declined in the four-week period, the degree of change was not significant compared to either the placebo or the baseline. The participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressures also increased, but to an insignificant degree. No change at all was found in the other measurements.

The authors said that their findings raised doubts about the justification of the use of resveratrol as a nutritional supplement to treat metabolic disorders.

The results disagreed with a study published in Cell Metabolism earlier in the month, which found that obese men who were dosed with resveratrol increased their insulin sensitivity and had significantly lower blood pressure.

The authors of the new study suggested to Medscape Today that the difference in findings may be caused by the methods by which the metabolic measurements were taken and the statistics were analysed.

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