For Patients & Caregivers
In laboratory studies, resveratrol was found to reduce inflammation and to have antitumor properties, but human studies have not been conducted.
A naturally occurring compound in the skin of red grapes and other botanicals, resveratrol has been shown to reduce inflammation. It also has antioxidant properties and may help to protect against atherosclerosis (thickening of arterial walls) and heart disease. Animal studies have shown that resveratrol has the ability to prevent certain cancer cells from dividing. Human studies on the anticancer effect of resveratrol supplements are lacking. Eating a diet rich in resveratrol does not lower the risk of dying from cancer or heart disease.
Laboratory studies have shown that resveratrol helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
- Coronary heart disease
There is limited scientific evidence to support this use.
- Cancer prevention
Several laboratory studies have demonstrated the ability of resveratrol in preventing growth of cancer cells. However, it is not clear if similar effects will be seen in humans.
This use is supported by data from laboratory studies.
This effect has only been demonstrated in lab studies.
- To treat metabolic disorders
In a study of obese healthy men, resveratrol also did not affect blood pressure, fat content, or inflammatory and metabolic biomarkers.
For Healthcare Professionals
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in many botanical products. Red wine is a natural source of resveratrol as it is rich in grape skin and seeds. However, resveratrol is usually consumed as a dietary supplement for its purported antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also marketed as an anti-aging supplement based on the findings that it prolongs the life span of yeast cells (1) (2). This effect has not yet been demonstrated in humans.
Resveratrol is thought to have cardioprotective effects. Earlier studies found that it reduces the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) and inhibits aggregation of platelets and may offer protection against atherogenesis (3) (4). Consumption of wine or a resveratrol-rich grape supplement is associated with reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease (5) (6) and may help promote health of the circulatory system (7) (8) (9). However, it does not decrease the risk of all-cause mortality in older adults (42). Results from another study suggest that supplementation with resveratrol may afford hepatoprotection in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (44).
Resveratrol has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients (10) (11) (43). However, clinical studies on the effect of resveratrol in controlling metabolic syndromes in obese subjects yielded mix results (12) (13).
In vitro and animal studies show that resveratrol inhibits proliferation of cancer cells via different mechanisms (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19). It may also protect against chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity (19) (20). Further clinical studies are needed to confirm these effects in humans.
External application of a resveratrol containing gel reduced the symptoms of acne (21). Whereas resveratrol is generally safe, high doses can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea. Resveratrol inhibits CYP450 enzymes (22) (23) and may increase the risk of adverse effects of certain drugs.
Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant and inhibits the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) (21), the aggregation of platelets, and eicosanoid synthesis (4). It also induces nitric oxide (NO) production (24) (25) and increases arterial blood flow (8). These actions may contribute to resveratrol’s purported cardiovascular health benefits.
Resveratrol acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX) activity (26). It has been shown to decrease C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor, and to increase anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 in humans (5). Resveratrol decreases oxidative stress and improves insulin sensitivity by increasing protein kinase activities (10) . It decreases circulating insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) levels (27) which may account for its anti-diabetic effects in humans.
Preliminary data suggest that resveratrol increases the life span of yeast cells by activating sirtuins (1) (2). Recent study shows it inhibits human Sirt3 and stimulates Sirt5, in addition to Sirt1 (28).
In vitro and animal studies show that resveratrol has anticancer activities. It inhibits proliferation of cancer cells via apoptosis and by exerting anti-estrogenic effects (14) (15) (16) (17). However, contradictory data from other studies showed that it acts as a phytoestrogen and could activate genes that are normally regulated by estrogen (18) or androgen (19).
Trans-resveratrol appears to decrease methylation of the tumor suppressor gene RASSF-1alpha in women at increased breast cancer risk (29). In addition, reductions in breast cancer cell migration and invasion were observed after treatment with resveratrol (30) (31). Resveratrol growth factor heregulin-beta1 (HRG-beta1) mediated matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP-9) expressions in human breast cancer cells (30).
Resveratrol may help reduce prostate tumorigenesis through a reduction in the prostatic levels of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activity and increased expression of SIRT1 and (32). Another study demonstrated that resveratrol modulates steroid hormone-dependent pathways to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth. However, resveratrol also increases angiogenesis and inhibition of apoptosis in vivo (19).
In an animal model, resveratrol down-regulated p21 and up-regulated cyclin E leading to S-phase accumulation and apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells (14). Resveratrol also inhibited the enzymes CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP1B1 in tumor cells. This may be one of the mechanisms by which it exerts antitumor effects as some of these enzymes are known to be involved in the activation of procarcinogens and toxins (22) (23).
The protective effect of resveratrol against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity is due to up-regulation of SIRT1-mediated p53 deacetylation. (20). It also protects against cisplatin-induced cardiotoxicity through the suppression of oxidative stress (19).
Because resveratrol exhibits estrogen-like properties and activates transcription by both the estrogen and androgen receptors that lead to stimulation of cancer cell proliferation, patients with hormone-sensitive cancers should use caution (18).
- Antiplatelet drugs: Because resveratrol inhibits platelet aggregation, concurrent use of other antiplatelet drugs may increase the risk of bleeding.
- Cytochrome P450 substrates: Resveratrol inhibits CYP3A4, CYP2D6, CYP2C9, and induces CYP1A2, thereby affecting the levels of drugs that are metabolized by these enzymes (39).
- Carbamazepine: Polygonum cuspidatum, a herbal supplement rich in resveratrol, can increase carbamazepine blood level due to the inhibition of CYP3A and multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 (MRP 2) (40).