Biomedical Updates

Resveratrol Improves
Insulin Resistance

For the first time, a study has shown that resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity in humans.1 While the polyphenol resveratrol has been widely studied for its potential health benefits, little is known about its metabolic effects in humans. So Hungarian researchers set out to determine whether resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients and to increase understanding of its mechanism of action.

After receiving a general examination, nineteen subjects were enrolled in a 4-week-long double-blind study and randomly assigned into two groups: one taking an oral dose of resveratrol, twice daily at 5 mg (10 mg total/day) and another taking placebo. At midpoint and at the end of the study, insulin resistance/sensitivity, creatinine-normalized ortho-tyrosine level were measured in urine samples (to measure oxidative stress). Also, incretin levels and the ratio of phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAkt) to protein kinase B (Akt) in platelets were assessed and analyzed.

After four weeks, resveratrol was found to significantly decrease insulin resistance and urinary ortho-tyrosine excretion, while it improved the pAkt:Akt ratio. Although it did not alter parameters that relate to β-cell function, the study found that resveratrol can be of significant benefit for enhancing insulin sensitivity in humans. To the best of the researchers’ knowledge, this has not been shown before in humans. The mechanism might involve resveratrol’s ability to decrease oxidative stress, which in turn leads to greater insulin signaling efficiency via the Akt pathway.


  1. Brasnyó P, Molnár GA, Mohás M, Markó L, Laczy B, Cseh J, Mikolás E, Szijártó IA, Mérei A, Halmai R, Mészáros LG, Sümegi B, Wittmann I. Resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity, reduces oxidative stress and activates the Akt pathway in type 2 diabetic patients. Br J Nutr­ 2011 Aug;106(3):383-9.

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