Why is resveratrol a supplement to take with meals?

Q I’ve been trying to compute the value of taking Durk & Sandy’s resveratrol-containing formulation, and I’m especially interested in the weight control program aspect. Can you tell me more?

ROSALIND, Minneapolis, MN

A In their article “Supplements We Take with Our Meals to Enhance Health and Healthy Weight Management,” which appeared in the May 2007 issue of this publication, Durk & Sandy report that:

  1. “Resveratrol improves mitochondrial function and increases energy expenditure”

  2. “Resveratrol protected mice against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, and it increased muscle strength”

  3. “Resveratrol makes you look like a trained athlete without the training” and “their [the mice’s] muscle fibers had been remodeled by the drug [resveratrol] into the type more prevalent in trained human athletes.” Could we be approaching ‘exercise in a pill’?”

[See references in article.] Since then, the research continues to pour in:

  1. Dietary intake of resveratrol induced a significant increase in T helper cells (CD4+) in middle-aged and aged Wistar male rats; resveratrol supplementation considerably increased the delayed type hypersensitivity response, a T cell-mediated immune response, in aged rats; and resveratrol supplementation remarkably promoted the production of total anti-keyhole limpet hemocyanin IgG, IgG1 and IgG2α in aged rats without disturbing immune homeostasis. These data indicate that resveratrol is capable of counteracting immuno­senescence, thereby leading to rejuvenation. See Yuan J, Lu L, Zhang Z, Zhang S. Dietary intake of resveratrol enhances the adaptive immunity of aged rats. Rejuvenation Res 2012 Sep 5. [Epub ahead of print]

  2. Oral supplementation of resveratrol was found to be effective in improving glycemic control and may possibly provide a potential adjuvant for the treatment and management of diabetes. See Bhatt JK, Thomas S, Nanjan MJ. Resveratrol supplementation improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Res 2012 Jul;32(7):537-41.

  3. Both chronic calorie restriction (CR) and dietary supplementation with resveratrol affected insulin sensitivity in four- to five-year-old male grey mouse lemurs (primates) by improving the glucose tolerance of the animals without disturbing their baseline insulin secretion. These results suggest that both CR and resveratrol have beneficial effects on metabolic alterations, although these effects are different in amplitude between the two anti-aging treatments and potentially rely on different metabolic changes. See Marchal J, Blanc S, Epelbaum J, Aujard F, Pifferi F. Effects of chronic calorie restriction or dietary resveratrol supplementation on insulin sensitivity markers in a primate, Microcebus murinus. PLoS One 2012;7(3):e34289. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

  4. Intake of high-fructose corn syrup leads to vascular dysfunction by decreasing vasoprotective factors and provoking oxidative stress in association with metabolic disturbances. Resveratrol has a protective potential against the harmful consequences of HFCS consumption. See Akar F, Uludağ O, Aydın A, Aytekin YA, Elbeg S, Tuzcu M, Sahin K. High-fructose corn syrup causes vascular dysfunction associated with metabolic disturbance in rats: protective effect of resveratrol. Food Chem Toxicol 2012 Jun;50(6):2135-41.

  5. When 11 healthy, obese men were treated with placebo and 150 mg/day resveratrol in a randomized double-blind crossover study for 30 days. resveratrol significantly reduced sleeping and resting metabolic rate. In conclusion, this demonstrated that 30 days of resveratrol supplementation induces metabolic changes in obese humans, mimicking the effects of calorie restriction. See Timmers S, Konings E, Bilet L, Houtkooper RH, van de Weijer T, Goossens GH, Hoeks J, van der Krieken S, Ryu D, Kersten S, Moonen-Kornips E, Hesselink MK, Kunz I, Schrauwen-Hinderling VB, Blaak EE, Auwerx J, Schrauwen P. Calorie restriction-like effects of 30 days of resveratrol supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans. Cell Metab 2011 Nov 2;14(5):612-22.

And that’s not all, by a long shot.

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