Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have been awarded $600,000 from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to study the effect of resveratrol, a chemical compound most notably found in red wine and grapes, on impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in older adults. IGT occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. The condition is also known as prediabetes.

IGT and diabetes increase dramatically with age, affecting almost 40 percent of adults over age 60. According to the ADA, those with prediabetes have a 50 percent increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Results of this study will provide critical information that is needed to plan and conduct more definitive studies of resveratrol in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

“Our earlier work in the area has given us reason to be hopeful,” said Jill Crandall, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and director of the Diabetes Clinical Trials Unit. “Given the easy availability, low cost and apparent safety of resveratrol supplementation, a positive finding could have an enormous impact on human health.”

The ADA grant will fund a six-week double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of thirty individuals between the ages of 50 and 80 years of age who have IGT. Study participants will be given resveratrol supplements to explore the compound’s effects on post-meal blood glucose metabolism. Preliminary studies will also be conducted to explore how resveratrol works by examining cellular function (in muscle samples obtained from study participants) and testing resveratrol’s effect on blood vessel function.

Resveratrol supplements are needed because diet alone is not sufficient to supply what is believed to be a therapeutic concentration of the compound. It’s estimated that a person would need to drink between 100-1000 bottles of wine per day to receive the levels shown to be therapeutic in mice.

In research in cells and animals, resveratrol has been shown to prolong lifespan, prevent cancer and heart disease, and normalize glucose metabolism. Although use of this agent shows great promise in the treatment and/or prevention of diabetes, there have been no rigorously controlled, peer-reviewed clinical studies in humans.

Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Press Release

Originally posted by on January 6, 2011.