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stilbenes: resveratrol (3,5,4’-trans-trihydroxystilbene)


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Short Description:

Stilbenes are a group of polyphenols widely distributed in the plant kingdom, although their presence in the diet is rather occasional. Amongst the stilbenes, resveratrol (3,5,4’-trans-trihydroxystilbene) is by far the most relevant compound.


  • The interest in resveratrol begun when it was detected in wine (and it was
    attributed some cardioprotective effects

  • But it was after the publication in Science by Jang et al. (1997) on resveratrol anticancer potential that the scientific community became really interested in resveratrol and the number of scientific reports on the effects and properties of this compound increased exponentially

  • Overall, most studies indicated a clear positive health-beneficial effect upon resveratrol administration. Resveratrol has been described as a compound that can prevent or reduce a wide range of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and ischemic damage

  • Recent work has demonstrated that resveratrol increases the resistance to stress
    and prolongs the lifespan of various organisms

History & Discovery:


Absorption and Storage:

Resveratrol content of wine & grape Juice

Important Pathways:

Resveratrol and Aging

  • Caloric restriction extends lifespan in numerous species. In the budding yeastSaccharomyces cerevisiae this effect requires Sir2 a member of the sirtuin family ofNAD+-dependent deacetylases

  • Sirtuin activating compounds (STACs) can promote the survival of human cells andextend the replicative lifespan of yeast

  • Resveratrol can activate sirtuins from Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophilamelanogaster, and extend the lifespan

  • Lifespan extension is dependent on functional Sir2, and is not observed whennutrients are restricted

  • Sir2-like proteins (sirtuins) are a family of NAD+-dependent deacetylases conserved from Escherichia coli to humans that play important roles in gene silencing, DNA repair, rDNA recombination and ageing in model

  • When diet is restricted (caloric restriction), lifespan is extended in diverse species,suggesting that there is a conserved mechanism for nutrient regulation of aging

Resveratrol increases life span in c. elegans

Resveratrol mimics calorie restriction in fruit flies and is Sir2 dependent

Resveratrol in Humans

  • Forty-one overweight men and women (BMI: 27–35 kg/m2; aged 40–70 y) completed the study

  • In this double-blind clinical trial, participants were randomized to receive either 150 mg/d of resveratrol (n = 20) or placebo (n = 21) for 6 mo

  • The primary outcome of the study was insulin sensitivity.

  • Secondary outcome measures were intrahepatic lipid (IHL) content, body composition, resting energy metabolism, blood pressure, plasma markers, physical performance, quality of life, and quality of sleep.

  • de Ligt M, Bergman M, Fuentes RM, et al. No effect of resveratrol supplementation after 6 months on insulin sensitivity in overweight adults: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020;112(4):1029-1038. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa125

Study 2:

  • Sixty-six participants 65 years or older with peripheral artery disease were randomized to receive a daily capsule of resveratrol, 125 mg or 500 mg, or placebo for 6 months

  • The primary outcome measure was the change in 6-minute walk distance at the 6-month follow-up. One of the secondary outcomes was change in maximal treadmill walking time

  • McDermott MM, Leeuwenburgh C, Guralnik JM, et al. Effect of Resveratrol on Walking Performance in Older People With Peripheral Artery Disease: The RESTORE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Cardiol. 2017;2(8):902-907. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0538

Study 3:

  • Tested the hypothesis that resveratrol supplementation enhances traininginduced improvements in cardiovascular health parameters in aged men

  • Twenty-seven healthy physically inactive aged men (age: 65 ± 1) were randomized into 8 weeks of either daily intake of either 250 mg transresveratrol (n= 14) or of placebo (n= 13) concomitant with high-intensity exercise training

  • Gliemann L, Schmidt JF, Olesen J, et al. Resveratrol blunts the positive effects of exercise training on cardiovascular health in aged men. J Physiol. 2013;591(20):5047-5059. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2013.258061

Deficiency Diseases, Detection, Cures:

Genetic Diseases:


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