Resveratrol again linked to fat loss with Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

October 04, 2013

Adiponectin is a very-very good hormone released by fat cells. Adiponectin actually burns fat, protects the liver, and improves insulin sensitivity and improved insulin sensitivity is the opposite of diabetes. The very strange paradox is that as people gain weight their fat cells release less adiponectin. Low adiponectin is related to fatty liver disease, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Research has shown that Resveratrol improves adiponectin levels in obese individuals.

A number of studies also show that Resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity in people with pre-diabetes. This is related to Resveratrol being an exercise mimetic reducing the amount of fat in muscle and increasing muscle leanness, glycogen storage and fat burning.

In this new study obese but still healthy men were supplemented with either inactive placebo or with 150mg of Resveratrol daily for 30 days. Then they went through a one-month washout period where no placebo or Resveratrol was used; this washes out the effects of the previous supplementation. At that point they were crossed-over to the other group and the men previously receiving placebo now took Resveratrol for 30 days and vice-versa in the second group.

Resveratrol resulted in a shrinking in the size of fat cells in both legs of the study and the men lost capacity to fill small-immature fat cells with fat – the core of obesity; it was preventing re-plumping of the men’s belly fat. In fact the Resveratrol was actually decreasing the number of fat cells and this is very-very important. Unless an overweight person goes through a prolonged period of rigorous exercise and calorie cutting they don’t actually decrease the number of belly fat cells and this eventually defeats their diet. In other words when an obese person diets the billions of additional fat cells on their belly shrink in size but they are still present. Once depleted these now thinner fat cells, known as adipocytes, release the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. Ghrelin makes you fell starved and you eat excessively again and gain your weight back. With Resveratrol not only do the fat cells shrink back to a normal or more normal size but they decrease in number; therefore less ghrelin is released, there is less stimulation of the appetite and less of the yo-yo dieting effect. Shrinking of adipocytes is one way Resveratrol may also be improving insulin sensitivity. The study is published online in the International Journal of Obesity.


Commentary on Resveratrol dosage by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.: In successful studies using Resveratrol it seems to work well in total daily dosages of 75mg to 200mg. Higher dosages used in some studies lead to decreasing levels of Resveratrol’s benefits including reducing it’s fat burning potential so more is not better apparently. In studies where Resveratrol improved blood sugar or decreased inflammation in the heart the potencies used were generally 75mg to 150mg of active Trans-Resveratrol.


Discussing systemic versus localized effects of Resveratrol by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.: This is very interesting - Resveratrol research again and again demonstrates that it’s effects locally are different than its effects systemically; locally meaning a specific region of the body and systemically meaning much of or the entire body. For instance Resveratrol stimulates specific immune system activity that triggers the process of inflammation in fat cells; the body uses this to remove fat cells. However systemically in the heart and arteries, the brain, lungs, liver, pancreas, muscles and kidneys Resveratrol lowers inflammation. Another example of a fortunate paradox is Resveratrol’s impact on new blood vessel growth. You want new blood vessel growth in the heart so that in the case of a heart attack the heart continues to receive at least some blood and oxygen improving the odds of survival. It is just the opposite with cancer. Cancerous tumors have poor blood supplies so they trigger the release of enzymes and hormones that create new but fairly inefficient and weak blood vessels; in this way cancer can grow and spread. Resveratrol improves blood vessel formation in the heart (collateral circulation) but inhibits the process in cancerous tumors (by inhibiting VEGF and MMP enzymes produced in tumors; VEGF creates blood vessels in tumors and MMP enzymes break down the barrier into healthy tissue allowing growth and spread).