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All the data on resveratrol for cardiovascular health

With 21 existing randomized trials looking at resveratrol’s effect on cardiovascular health markers, this meta-analysis was needed to summarize the data and get a sense of how much, if any, it may help.

Study under review: The effects of resveratrol intervention on risk markers of cardiovascular health in overweight and obese subjects: a pooled analysis of randomized controlled trials

Introduction

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in the world, representing 31% of all global deaths in 2012. Additionally, rates of overweight and obesity have been steadily increasing. This may be contributing to cardiovascular disease development, as it is associated with both direct (excess fat tissue) and indirect (increased blood pressure, blood lipids, insulin resistance) known risk factors.

Resveratrol (shown in Figure 1) is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in grapes, berries, and peanuts. It may also be found in some products made from these foods, such as red wine. There is considerable[1] evidence[2] from cell culture studies, animal research, and clinical trials that resveratrol supplementation benefits cardiovascular health through interactions with fat tissue, blood lipids, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and inflammatory markers.

Figure 1: Resveratrol's structure and the common foods that contain it

Reference: Sanders et al. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2002. | Sanders et al. J Agric. Food Chem. 2000. |
Sobolev et al. J Agric. Food Chem. 1999. | Burns et al. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2002.

Additionally, a review[3] looked at resveratrol in long-term (longer than one year) clinical trials dealing with patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease or with established cardiovascular disease. It suggested that resveratrol supplementation is promising for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

The question remains: how would resveratrol supplementation benefit the cardiovascular health of individuals with overweight or obesity? Despite a strong mechanistic evidence base in cell cultures and animals, human research[4] on this question is inconsistent and scattered. The current study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of human clinical trials investigating the effect of resveratrol supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk factors in overweight and obese adults. The goal was to consolidate the current literature base and determine whether resveratrol supplementation is associated with improved markers of cardiovascular health in this at-risk population.

Cardiovascular disease and obesity are global health concerns. Promising data on long-term resveratrol supplementation suggests it may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The current study was a meta-analysis of resveratrol supplementation clinical trials in people who were overweight or obese to determine whether it improves cardiovascular health risk markers.

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