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Resveratrol May Not Be Associated with Improved Health

The antioxidant resveratrol, found in red wine, chocolate and grapes, was not associated with longevity or the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammation in a new study…. 

The "French Paradox" of a low incidence of coronary heart disease despite a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat in France has been attributed to the regular intake of red wine and, in particular, to resveratrol and other polyphenols contained in wine. Some preliminary evidence also suggests that resveratrol may have anti-inflammatory effects, prevent cancer, and decrease blood vessel stiffness.

For the study, the participants (a sample of 783 men and women 65 years or older) were part of the Aging in the Chianti Region study from 1998 to 2009 in two Italian villages. The authors investigated whether resveratrol levels achieved through diet were associated with inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death. Levels were measured using 24 hour urine collections to look for breakdown products of resveratrol.

The results showed that, during nine years of follow-up, 268 participants (34.3 percent) died; of the 639 participants free of cardiovascular disease at enrollment, 174 (27.2 percent) developed cardiovascular disease during the follow-up; and of the 734 participants who were free of cancer at enrollment, 34 (4.6 percent) developed cancer during the follow-up. Urine resveratrol metabolite levels were not associated with death, inflammation, cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Researchers concluded that this prospective study of nearly 800 older community-dwelling adults shows no association between urinary resveratrol metabolites and longevity. This study suggests that dietary resveratrol from Western diets in community-dwelling older adults does not have a substantial influence on inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or longevity.

Practice Pearls:
  • The "French Paradox" may not exist
  • Resveratrol found in red wine, chocolate and grapes was not associated with longevity or the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammation

JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 12, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1582.