resveratrol and Alzheimer'sA new study published last week in the journal, Neurology, demonstrated long-term high-dose resveratrol stabilized amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This biomarker declines when the disease progresses.

Although this is the largest nationwide clinical trial to study long-term high-dose resveratrol, it is a single, small study. The clinical trial was a randomized, phase II, placebo-controlled, double blind study in patients with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study had 119 participants taking one gram of resveratrol orally twice daily. The patients who were treated with the resveratrol over 12 months showed little or no change in Abeta40 levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. On the other hand, those taking the placebo had a significant 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. Resveratrol was measured in both blood and cerebrospinal fluid. The study suggests that resveratrol is able to penetrate the blood brain barrier.

The researchers studied resveratrol because it activates sirtuins, which are the same proteins activated by caloric restriction. The major risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s is aging. Previous studies have shown this can be prevented or delayed by long-term caloric restriction. In addition, the patients taking resveratrol supplement experienced weight loss while those taking the placebo gained weight.

Furthermore, the research team obtained brain MRI scans on participants before and after the study and found that resveratrol-treated patients lost more brain volume than the placebo-treated group. This has also been seen with some anti-amyloid immunotherapy trials. The research team hypothesizes that the treatments may be reducing inflammation or brain swelling which is seen with Alzheimer’s disease.

Resveratrol and other similar compounds are being tested in many age-related disorders. This is the largest and longest human clinical trial of resveratrol to date.

Although an animal study, there was new research published earlier this year in January demonstrating that resveratrol prevented age-related memory decline. It was a study published in Scientific Reports, which reported that treatment with resveratrol had significant benefits in learning, memory and mood function in aged rats.

The results demonstrated neurogenesis doubled in the rats given resveratrol compared to the control rats. The resveratrol-treated rats also had significantly improved microvasculature, indicating improved blood flow, and had a lower level of chronic inflammation in the hippocampus.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: R. S. Turner, R. G. Thomas, S. Craft, C. H. van Dyck, J. Mintzer, B. A. Reynolds, J. B. Brewer, R. A. Rissman, R. Raman, P. S. Aisen. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of resveratrol for Alzheimer disease. Neurology, 2015; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000002035

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