Resveratrol is a substance found in in grapes, red wine, chocolate, and certain berries and roots. Currently, many individuals take resveratrol supplements or consume products containing it because they believe that it is beneficial to one’s health. However, a new study by an international team of researchers questions its benefit. The findings appear online on May 12 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The study authors note that resveratrol is considered to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects in humans and is associated with longevity life in some lower organisms. Therefore, they designed a study to determine whether the resveratrol levels achieved with diet have benefits regarding inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in humans. The investigators conducted a prospective cohort study: the Invecchiare in Chianti (InCHIANTI) Study (“Aging in the Chianti Region”). (A prospective cohort study is a forward-looking study of a similar group of individuals.) The study was conducted from 1998 through 2009 in two villages in the Chianti, Italy area involving 783 men and women aged 65 years or older.
The main outcome measurement of the stud was all-cause mortality (death from any cause). Secondary outcome measurements were markers of inflammation (serum C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)), as well as the development of cancer or cardiovascular disease.
The investigators found that the total urinary resveratrol metabolite concentrations were 7.08 nmol/gram of creatinine. During nine years of follow-up, 268 (34.3%) of the study participants died. From the lowest to the highest quartile (25%) of baseline total urinary resveratrol metabolites, the proportion of participants who died from all causes was 34.4%, 31.6%, 33.5%, and 37.4%, respectively. With statistical analysis, participants in the lowest quartile had a hazards ratio for mortality of 0.80, compared with those in the highest quartile of total urinary resveratrol, meaning that those in the lowest quartile had a slightly lower incidence of death. In addition, the investigators found that resveratrol levels were not significantly related toserum CRP, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.
The authors concluded that among older community-dwelling adults, total urinary resveratrol metabolite concentration was not associated with inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease, or cancer or predictive of all-cause mortality. Furthermore, the resveratrol levels achieved with a Western diet did not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk of the population in this study.
The researchers are affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, Maryland), the National Institute on Aging (Baltimore, Maryland), New England Research Institute (Boston, Massachusetts), the University of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), the Catalan Institute of Oncology (Barcelona, Spain), thee Istituto Nazionale di Riposo e Cura per Anziani V.E.II.–Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (Ancona, Italy), and Azienda Sanitaria (Florence, Italy).