By: Patrick Totty
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City has received a $600,000 grant from the American Diabetes Association to study the effects of resveratrol on lowering impaired glucose tolerance in older adults.
Impaired glucose tolerance-the inability to use insulin properly-is one of the main conditions of pre-diabetes. According to the ADA, almost 40 percent of adults over age 60 have IGT or diabetes. Pre-diabetes itself, says the association, increases the risk of heart attack or stroke by 50 percent.
Resveratrol, a chemical compound commonly found in red wine and grapes, has been found in previous research studies involving laboratory animals to have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism. But there have been no formal studies with humans.
The six-week study will focus on 30 subjects between the ages of 50 and 80 who have IGT. Some participants in the double-blind study will receive resveratrol supplements while others will receive a placebo.
The object of the research will be to see resveratrol’s effects on blood glucose levels after meals. Further study will look into the chemical compound’s effects on muscle cell and blood vessel functions.
Word about resveratrol’s beneficial effects has circulated for several years, especially in light of the compound’s natural occurrence in red wine. But it turns out that to receive a dose of resveratrol sufficient to affect blood glucose levels, a wine drinker would have to imbibe more than 100 bottles of wine per day-an impossibility from the standpoint of health, finances, and efficiency.
Several manufacturers sell resveratrol supplements, usually in 100 mg, 250 mg, or 500 mg doses. However, nobody is yet certain what should be a standard daily dose and what should be considered an overdose.
(Anecdotal information on the Internet seems to put the upper limit at 5,000 mg daily. Supposed side effects from too much resveratrol can include joint aches and stomach pains. Because the compound is a blood thinner, users are cautioned to tell their doctors if they are also taking prescribed blood thinners.)