The five-year, human research project is sponsored by the Danish Council for Strategic Research will be the longest ever completed to date using resveratrol and add to a growing body of work for the nutrient. Danish supplier Fluxome will provide the resveratrol extract.
The lead researcher is Dr Steen Bønløkke Pedersen from Aarhus University, who said the project would include a one year randomised double-blinded study.
“From animal studies it is known that resveratrol has strong anti-inflammatory effects,” Dr Pedersen said in a research summary. “However, any health promoting effect of resveratrol in humans is only very sparsely studied. The precise intra-cellular anti-inflammatory pathways of resveratrol will furthermore be studied in clinical trials and in cell culture systems. Finally, a consumer acceptance study is conducted to evaluate the acceptance of use of resveratrol as food additive, herbal medicine or as novel food.”
Non-alcoholic, fatty liver disease will be another of the study’s target endpoints.
Fluxome president Dr Herb Woolf welcomed the support of the Danish government body.
"It is gratifying that research organizations such as The Danish Council for Strategic Research has recognized that certain nutrients have health benefits above and beyond basic nutrition and further the understanding by financially supporting research to prove their value,” he said. “These benefits, unlike many drugs, do not have adverse effects."
Dr Woolf observed that the multiple endpoints featured in the study, plus its length, lent it the potential of delivering more reliable results.
"Clinical studies evaluating nutrient intake over long periods are fraught with inconsistency because of lack of compliance of the subjects,” he said. “Validated biomarkers will give reliable indicators for the subjects so they will know they are on the right track for good health.”
Resveratrol occurs naturally in fruits like grapes and pomegranate as well as peanuts. It is most abundant in red wine and has been linked to the French Paradox – the fact the French have lower incidences of heart disease than most other western nations despite red wine consumption being higher.
"There are nutritional surprises all around us if we can only understand the clues they leave," said Dr Woolf. " Fish oil, vitamin D, turmeric and now resveratrol, to name a few, are being rediscovered for their untapped health benefits."
To datestudies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives. Further studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
The Danish researchers will employ MR-spectroscopy to determine fat infiltration in liver and skeletal muscle, real time qPCR for gene expression analysis, polarographic oxygen measurements for mitochondrial activity, and LC-MS/MS for quantification of resveratrol (and metabolites) in biofluids and tissues.
“We expect to prove that resveratrol in humans can neutralise the detrimental effect of obesity on whole body metabolism, like low grade chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and lipid infiltration in liver and skeletal muscle,” Dr Pedersen said.
“In addition, extracts of selected vegetables, herbs and berries will be investigated for their anti-inflammatory effects on human adipose tissue in order to find new natural products that might be useful to prevent low-grade inflammation seen in association with obesity.”
Aside from Aarhus University and Fluxome, the Aarhus University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Roskilde University and Pennsylvania State University will contribute to the programme that begins in June this year.