MINNEAPOLIS — A natural compound in red wine, peanuts, berries and the skin of red grapes may reduce artery stiffness in some people with Type 2 diabetes, new data suggest.
In a study presented Thursday at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology/Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions, resveratrol treatment reduced aortic stiffness at a statistically insignificant level.
In a subset of 23 patients with high arterial stiffness at the start of the study, a 300 mg dose of resveratrol reduced aortic stiffness by 9.1 percent, a 100 mg dose lowered it 4.8 percent, while stiffness increased with the placebo treatments.
“This adds to emerging evidence that there may be interventions that may reverse the blood vessel abnormalities that occur with aging and are more pronounced in people with Type 2 diabetes and obesity,” said Naomi M. Hamburg, M.D., chief of the vascular biology section at the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.
As the body’s largest artery, the aorta, becomes stiffer, the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases.
In the study, researchers used a test called the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity to measure aortic stiffness in 57 patients with Type 2 diabetes. Tests were performed after patients consumed daily doses of 100 mg/day of resveratrol for two weeks, followed by 300 mg/day of resveratrol for two weeks and after comparable placebo dosing for a total of four weeks.
Participants were also tested on several other measures of their blood vessels’ ability to relax and expand to accommodate changes in blood flow, an important indicator of healthy blood vessel function.
“The effect of resveratrol may be more about improving structural changes in the aorta, and less about the relaxation of blood vessels, and people with more normal aortic stiffness may not get as much benefit,” Hamburg said.
In animal studies, resveratrol activates the gene SIRT1 that delays aging and the development of several diseases. To look at that mechanism in humans, researchers took a sample of the inner lining of blood vessels from seven participants and examined the tissue for SIRT1 activity. Although they detected increased SIRT1 activity after resveratrol supplementation, the difference was not statistically significant.