Resveratrol improves blood sugar and memory in aging people and restores connectivity in their brain

August 06, 2014

Resveratrol improves blood sugar and memory in aging people and restores connectivity in their brain

     Researchers from Germany have uncovered a fantastic effect for the supplement Resveratrol on the brain of aging people. The research was carried out by neuroscientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in tandem with others at the Charite Universitätsmedizin in Berlin (the oldest and most prestigious medical school in Berlin).

A previous study from the University of North Umbria in the UK showed that Resveratrol supplements improved circulation to the brain in adults. For the current research 46 people between the ages of 50 to 74 were supplemented with Resveratrol at a dosage of 200mg per day for 26 weeks, and some were given inactive placebo.

With powerful brain imaging tools the scientists found that Resveratrol improved or restored connectivity between two key parts of the brain involved with cognitive functions; the left posterior hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex. Data from memory tests showed that the Resveratrol group had significant improvements in word retention after 30 minutes; memory was improved.

Resveratrol supplementation also significantly improved blood sugar control with a decrease in levels of glycated hemoglobin also known as HbA1c (*see below).  Lead researcher Veronica Witte, Ph D states “Resveratrol led to significant increases in hippocampal functional connectivity”, and “Our findings offer the basis for novel strategies to maintain brain health during aging”. The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

* HbA1c or glycosylated hemoglobin gives a three-month approximation of blood sugar control. Hemoglobin is the iron containing part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen. There is a very slow chemical reaction taking place in the blood over a three-month period, where sugar in the blood slowly attaches to hemoglobin. The level of this reaction reflects average blood sugar concentrations giving a three-month panoramic view of blood sugar control and if high (over 6) it indicates diabetes, if between the values of 5.7 to 6 it indicates prediabetes and if below 5.7 it reflects normal blood sugar over that three month period. HbA1c can be used to diagnose diabetes and also to calculate the effectiveness of diet and medication for the treatment of diabetes.

Note by Jerry Hickey R PH;

The memory organ in the brain is called the hippocampus. Hippocampal health is influenced by the Sirtuin 1 protein (SIRT1). SIRT1 activity decreases in the hippocampus with age and Resveratrol restores SIRT1 levels in the hippocampus so I am not surprised with this finding.

Currently researchers are studying Resveratrol for Alzheimer's treatment with about 27 Academic Research Institutions, clinics and hospitals taking part in the study including the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Yale University, Georgetown University, Rush University Memory Clinic, John's Hopkins, Columbia University, NYU Medical Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve, Baylor College of Medicine with other leading research institutions throughout the USA.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is studying the protective effects of Resveratrol given to professional boxers immediately following a boxing match. Using powerful neuro-imaging tools they hope to show that Resveratrol prevents concussive damage to the brain and may trigger healing.

Resveratrol also restores SIRT1 activity in the hypothalamus; this brain region controls our internal clock (circadian rhythm) in our body, including our sleep awake, eating and hunger, bathroom, and body temperature cycles; when the brain loses control of the body's internal clock you age rapidly.

Resveratrol restores SIRT1 activity in the pituitary gland. This is a little gland in the more primitive part of the brain near the hypothalamus. This part of the brain (the anterior and posterior pituitary gland) governs the neuroendocrine system; the brain-hormone connection or the brains control of your hormones and growth factors in your body.

Resveratrol stimulates SIRT1 activity in the thyroid allowing the manufacture and release of thyroid hormone and the conversion from T4 to T3 (the more active version of thyroid hormone). Resveratrol also connects T3 to its receptor sites in the liver and muscle and this may be how Resveratrol may help our sugar, cholesterol, and energy metabolism. The receptor sites in the liver and muscle where thyroid hormone functions are SIRT1 dependent.

Jerry Hickey R PH