Long-term effects of resveratrol on cognition, cerebrovascular function and cardio-metabolic markers in postmenopausal women: A 24-month randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study

  • Jay Jay Thaung Zaw
    Affiliations
    University of Newcastle, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia
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  • Peter RC. Howe
    Affiliations
    University of Newcastle, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia

    University of Southern Queensland, Institute for Resilient Regions, Springfield Central, QLD, 4300, Australia

    University of South Australia, School of Health Sciences, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Australia
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  • Rachel HX. Wong
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia.
    Affiliations
    University of Newcastle, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia

    University of Southern Queensland, Institute for Resilient Regions, Springfield Central, QLD, 4300, Australia
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Published:August 27, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2020.08.025

      Summary

      Ageing and menopause contribute to endothelial dysfunction, causing impaired cerebral perfusion, which is in turn associated with accelerated cognitive decline. In a 14-week pilot study, we showed that supplementation with low-dose resveratrol, a phytoestrogen that can enhance endothelial function, improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions in postmenopausal women. We sought to confirm these benefits in a larger, longer-term trial. A 24-month randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial was undertaken in 125 postmenopausal women, aged 45–85 years, who took 75 mg trans-resveratrol or placebo twice-daily for 12 months and then crossover to the alternative treatment for another 12 months. We evaluated within individual differences between each treatment period in measures of cognition (primary outcome), cerebrovascular function in the middle cerebral artery (cerebral blood flow velocity: CBFV, cerebrovascular responsiveness: CVR) and cardio-metabolic markers as secondary outcomes. Subgroup analyses examined effects of resveratrol by life stages. Compared to placebo, resveratrol supplementation resulted a significant 33% improvement in overall cognitive performance (Cohen's d = 0.170, P = 0.005). Women ≥65 years of age showed a relative improvement in verbal memory with resveratrol compared to those younger than 65 years. Furthermore, resveratrol improved secondary outcomes including resting mean CBFV (d = 0.275, P = 0.001), CVR to hypercapnia (d = 0.307, P = 0.027), CVR to cognitive stimuli (d = 0.259, P = 0.032), fasting insulin (d = 0.174, P = 0.025) and insulin resistance index (d = 0.102, P = 0.034). Regular supplementation with low-dose resveratrol can enhance cognition, cerebrovascular function and insulin sensitivity in postmenopausal women. This may translate into a slowing of the accelerated cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause, especially in late-life women. Further studies are warranted to observe whether these cognitive benefits of resveratrol can reduce the risk of dementia.

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