A randomized, placebo controlled, double blind study explored the effects of high dose, long term use of resveratrol on amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) which is a biomarker that decreases as the Alzheimer’s progresses in severity. Participants in the experimental group took 1g of oral resveratrol twice daily for 12 months. The experimental group showed little to no signs of change in Abeta 40 levels following 12 months, where as participants in the control placebo group showed a decline in levels as one would normally experience with disease progression. Although these findings are preliminary, they show optimistic results for the use of resveratrol in Alzheimer’s disease.

Often times when supplements are needed to act on the brain itself we question whether oral supplementation will cross the blood brain barrier (BBB). This study was sure to test both blood and cerebral spinal fluid levels confirming oral supplementation of resveratrol did in fact cross the BBB increasing the possibility of effects directly on the brain.

Another finding of this study was that the resveratrol supplementation was correlated with weight loss in patients. MRI’s showed that those participants in the experimental group saw a decrease in brain mass while those in the placebo group had an increase. This was suggested that it could be due to less inflammation found in the experimental group, as inflammation also is often seen as increased in patients with advancing Alzheimer’s disease.

Although this is only a single small study it is the largest one of its kind showing these effects. More research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine by which mechanism the progression of disease is slowed. Furthermore, it needs to be confirmed whether the biomarker findings relate clinically to a slowing of cognitive decline. Regardless these findings are promising and highlight the potential use of resveratrol in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

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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