Resveratrol, a natural compound found in red wine, peanuts, berries and the skin of red grapes, may reduce artery stiffness in some people with Type 2 diabetes, according to an abstract presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology | Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.
As the body’s largest artery, the aorta, becomes stiffer, the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases. In the current study, researchers used a test called the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CFPWV) to measure aortic stiffness in 57 patients with Type-2 diabetes (average age 56 years, 52 percent female, 67 percent African-American and on average rating as obese on standard height/weight charts). Tests were performed after patients consumed daily doses of 100 mg/day of resveratrol for two weeks followed by 300 mg/day of resveratrol for two weeks and after comparable placebo dosing for a total of four weeks. Participants were also tested on several other measures of their blood vessels’ ability to relax and expand as needed to accommodate changes in blood flow, an important indicator of healthy blood vessel function.
· In the overall study group, there was a trend toward reduced aortic stiffness with resveratrol treatment; however, the change was not statistically significant.
· In a subset of 23 patients with high arterial stiffness at the start of the study, the 300 mg dose of resveratrol reduced aortic stiffness by 9.1 percent, the 100 mg lowered reduced aortic stiffness to a lesser extent, 4.8 percent, while stiffness increased with the placebo treatments.
The effect of resveratrol may be more about improving structural changes in the aorta, and less about the relaxation of blood vessels, and people with more normal aortic stiffness may not get as much benefit.
In animal studies, resveratrol activates a gene (SIRT1) that delays aging and the development of several diseases. To look at that mechanism in humans, researchers in the current study took a sample of the inner lining of blood vessels from seven participants and examined the tissue for SIRT1 activity. Although they detected increased SIRT1 activity after resveratrol supplementation, the difference was not statistically significant.