Resveratrol: The Frustration of Headlines

This morning The Times of India reported Red Wine Compound May Stop Alzheimer’s Progress.

Dosage Equivalent to 1000 Bottles of Wine

The article is based on a one year, phase II study where a test group of people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were given up to one gram of resveratrol twice a day — “equivalent to the amount found in about 1,000 bottles of red wine.”

One of the most important finds of the study was the fact that a biomarker, amyloid-beta40, did not decrease in those taking resveratrol.

Patients who were treated with increasing doses of resveratrol over 12 months showed little or no change in amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) protein levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

In contrast, those taking a placebo had a decrease in the levels of Abeta40 compared with their levels at the beginning of the study.

“A decrease in Abeta40 is seen as dementia worsens and Alzheimer’s disease progresses; still, we cannot conclude from this study that the effects of resveratrol treatment are beneficial,” Turner explained.

The abstract  in Journal Neurology on which the article was based also states that gastrointestinal issues were the most common side effect; moreover,  those given resveratrol experienced a 3 percent decline in brain volume versus those given the placebo. The placebo group experienced a 1 percent decline in brain volume.

While a stable Abeta40 biomarker is a significant finding in this study, it is clear that additional research is required.

The conclusion of the study’s abstract is that resveratrol is safe and well tolerated in those with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol are clearly beneficial. In addition, Dr. Turner reports “it appears that resveratrol was able to penetrate the blood brain barrier.” If this is the case, researchers may find a way to use resveratrol as a carrier for targeted treatment in the brain.

We look forward to a cure for this challenging disease.



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