Resveratrol improves cognitive performance in menopausal women: Study

By Danielle Masterson contact

- Last updated on GMT

© metamorworks / Getty Images
© metamorworks / Getty Images

Related tags: cognitive support, Resveratrol, Menopause, evolva, healthy aging, Estrogen, Dementia

Swiss biotech firm Evolva recently released their findings from the Resveratrol Supporting Healthy Aging in Women (RESHAW) clinical study, which examined cognition, cerebrovascular function and cardiometabolic markers in postmenopausal women.

The peer-reviewed research, published in Clinical Nutrition​, noted that “Ageing and menopause contribute to endothelial dysfunction, causing impaired cerebral perfusion, which is in turn associated with accelerated cognitive decline.”

Marcia da Silva Pinto, PhD, Evolva’s Technical Sales and Customer Support Manager, said cognitive decline is indeed a common health challenge in postmenopausal women: “The decrease in estrogen levels, commonly experienced during menopause, is critical in leading to health issues not only related to cognitive health, but also circulatory, bone health and quality of life that can be seriously impacted by these issues.”

Previous studies showed that supplementation with low-dose resveratrol, a phytoestrogen that has been reported to enhance endothelial function, improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions in postmenopausal women. The study aimed to confirm the previous findings in a larger, longer-term study.

The new study, conducted at the University of Newcastle’s Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, Australia, is the third installation of anticipated publications from the extensive two-year RESHAW clinical trial of Veri-te resveratrol.

The other two peer-reviewed publications from the RESHAW study have reported the cerebrovascular and cognitive benefits, as well as bone mineral density improvements in postmenopausal women. 

Study details 

A 24-month randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial was undertaken in 125 postmenopausal women, aged 45-85 years. The participants took 75 mg trans-resveratrol or placebo twice a day for 12 months and then crossed over to the alternative treatment for another 12 months. 

In the crossover comparison, a wide range of cognitive tests measuring several cognitive domains were performed at 12-month intervals.

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. 

Findings

Compared to placebo, resveratrol supplementation resulted in a 33% improvement in overall cognitive performance. Women 65 years of age showed a relative improvement in verbal memory with resveratrol compared to those younger than 65 years. 

"A 12% improvement in cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) to hypercapnia [excessive carbon dioxide in the bloodstream] and overall neurovascular coupling was enhanced by 7% with resveratrol,”​ noted the researchers, adding

“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.”

Clare Panchoo, VP, Health Ingredients, Evolva, commented: “What’s really powerful about these results is that the researchers also reported that 88% of the women stated that they would be likely to continue with resveratrol supplementation after the conclusion of the study​."

Furthermore, “the RESHAW exit survey details that more than half the women in the study reported that their perceived memory, mood and other aspects of living were improved with the supplementation," ​added Panchoo. 

“The findings from this important study highlight the benefits of resveratrol supplementation in several key aspects related to women’s health, particularly after menopause,” ​noted da Silva Pinto. “There are other studies with postmenopausal women; however, the RESHAW study is the first to investigate a long-term supplementation with resveratrol. More importantly, the research team confirmed the benefits of resveratrol as being sustained over a period of time.”

“We can foresee that these significant health outcomes observed in postmenopausal women, after supplementation of 75 mg of resveratrol twice a day, will be quickly translated into new product development and ultimately fulfill the gap in this underserved market segment,”​ said Panchoo.

The estrogen factor

The authors explain that estrogen deprivation can accelerate age-related arterial stiffening and impair tissue perfusion by reducing endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, noting that this increases the risk of dementia and cerebrovascular diseases, which are emerging as the leading causes of death in older women. “Women aged over 55 years have greater risk of cardiovascular diseases than their male counterparts or younger women. These differences can be partly attributed to the rapid mid-life decline in circulating estrogen following menopause. Estrogen is important for memory retention, metabolic regulation and bone health in pre-menopausal women. Hence, the loss of estrogen may accelerate age-related cognitive impairment and increase the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.”

“Therefore, maintaining the health of the cerebral vasculature may slow cognitive decline in postmenopausal women.”

The report goes on to point out that dementia mortality rates in women in 2016 were almost twice that of men. “This may be partly attributable to the abrupt decline of estrogen at menopause and the associated loss of its protective effects on cardiovascular and neural functions.”

Beyond menopause 

Resveratrol could be helpful to those experiencing cognitive issues that are not menopause-related, said da Silva Pinto.  

“Resveratrol is not only a strong antioxidant compound but also a potent vasoactive compound which has been shown in several other clinical studies to benefit different populations.”

“We have recently written a whitepaper in which we performed a systematic review on the clinical studies reporting outcomes on cognitive health.Our analysis showed that in general, older subjects would benefit more than young populations (in their 20’s).”

“This is in line with our knowledge that aging leads to increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and more circulatory challenges,”​ she explained. 

Research is life

Da Silva Pinto told NutraIngredients-USA that having science to back Evolva's products is critical. “We are a R&D-focused company which delivers science-based ingredient solutions to customers. That is why Evolva supports several ongoing research projects with Veri-te resveratrol. At the moment, Veri-te has been included in 13 clinical studies with esteemed universities and third-party researchers.”

“Besides collaborating with key opinion leaders and research partners, we are also initiating 3 new clinical studies in the coming months.”​ These studies will bring science-based evidence in key benefits areas to support them in new product development such as skin health and sports nutrition.

She added that Evolva has a number of studies in various phases, with some in recruiting stages, others underway and a couple awaiting publication. 

Source: Clinical Nutrition
August 27, 2020 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2020.08.025
“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”
Authors: J. Zaw et al.

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