The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 12 No. 1 • February 2009

Acute Treatment of Stroke with Red Wine Polyphenols

A very interesting study1 reports highly protective effects of red wine polyphenols in a rat stroke model (90 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion). The results suggest that red wine polyphenolic compounds (RWPC) might be an effective therapy if administered during an acute stroke to reduce the resulting damage, though they were administered intravenously rather than orally in the study. Oral dosage would very likely still be protective, but not necessarily to the same extent as IV due to the faster delivery to the damaged tissues with IV.

The authors compared the resulting damage after 90 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion between untreated rats and those receiving a bolus of RWPC at the onset of cerebral ischemia. (The dose used in the study was 0.1 mg/kg—corresponding to the RWPC found in 1/20 glass of red wine—which is comparable to the lowest dose of Provinol™ (a branded RWPC product) applied orally (0.2 mg/kg/day) in a previous study that the researchers report had shown a potent protective effect in a model of leg ischemia.

The protective effects they document include decreasing toxicity elicited by the release of excitatory amino acids (glutamate and aspartate), increasing the release of free radical scavengers (uric acid and ascorbic acid), and improving blood flow restoration as well as improving cerebral energy metabolism (by increasing the availability of the energy substrates glucose and lactate).1

An earlier study reported by the same authors2 found that chronic pre-treatment (before middle artery occlusion) with RWPC was able to “increase brain perfusion during occlusion by inducing a remodeling of the cerebral arteries and to completely block the release of EAA [excitatory amino acids].” In contrast, the acute administration of RWPC did not have a significant effect on blood flow during occlusion, but only during reperfusion.


  1. Ritz et al. Acute treatment with red wine polyphenols protects ischemia-induced excitotoxicity, energy failure and oxidative stress in rats. Brain Res 1239:226-34 (2008).
  2. Ritz et al. Chronic treatment with red wine polyphenol compounds mediates neuroprotection in a rat model of ischemic cerebral stroke. J Nutr 138:519-25 (2008).

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