Resveratrol Appears to Boost Blood Flow in the Brain

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article

High doses of resveratrol may improve blood flow in the brain and potentially boost brain health. That’s what a new study from the United Kingdom concludes.

A single dose of 250 mg or 500 mg of resveratrol was found to boost blood flow in the brain but did not affect cognitive performance, according to new findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“The results of the current study provide the first indication in humans that resveratrol may be able to modulate cerebral blood flow variables,” wrote the researchers, led by David Kennedy from the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Center at Northumbria University.

“Thus it seems reasonable to suggest that the potential effects of this molecule on brain function deserve a great deal more research attention with a clear focus on both healthy humans and pathologic groups,” they added.

Resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called “French Paradox.” The phrase, coined in 1992 by Dr. Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University, describes the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.

Interest in the compound exploded in 2003 when research from David Sinclair and his team from Harvard reported that resveratrol was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The research, published in Nature, was greeted with international media fanfare and ignited flames of hope for an anti-aging pill.

According to Sinclair’s findings, resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin 1 (Sirt1—the yeast equivalent was Sir2), which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species, including monkeys.

Since then, studies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives. Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement and protection against Alzheimer’s.

The new randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, which involved 22 healthy adults, now suggests a role for the compound in brain health.

Dr. Kennedy and his co-workers randomly assigned the participants to receive placebo, or one of two doses of resveratrol (250 mg or 500 mg). Forty-five minutes after the dose, the blood flow and cognitive performance of the participants was measured over a 36-minute period.

Results showed that resveratrol produced a dose-dependent increase in cerebral blood flow, but no increase in the placebo group. The researchers also noted an increase in levels of deoxyhemoglobin after both doses of resveratrol, which they said was indicative of increased oxygen extraction and utilization.

“One key issue regarding resveratrol and other polyphenols is that of the low bioavailability of the parent molecule in humans,” wrote the researchers. “The results here confirm that orally administered resveratrol can modulate brain function in humans.

“Whether this is as a consequence of the very low concentrations of the parent molecule seen here in plasma, the action of the much higher concentrations of its glucuronide and sulfate conjugates or other metabolites, or the conversion of these metabolites back to the parent form once they reach target tissues remains to be elucidated,” they added.

Editor’s Notes: Dr. David Sinclair helped Shaklee design a very effective mixed polyphenol product called Vivix that is very effective. As Dr. Sinclair has noted in prior research there are many reseveratrol type products that do not contain enough to be effective. Wtih Vivix a one month supply is equivalent to drinking 3000 glasses of wine!

Read previous post as to why Vivix is different than other resveratrol products on the market.

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About the Author

Caroline Heinemann has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Concordia Teachers College in Seward Nebraska. She has coordinated a variety of educational programs in her local community and conducts regional business training events and teleconference training calls. She become personally interested in health when she experienced some personal health issues and found that alternative medicine has been the key to her health. She shares tips on staying healthy. She is a former and teacher and has owned her own health education business for the past 30 years

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