Inflammation of the heart and overall heart health have been shown to improve with year long supplementation using a resveratrol-containing grape extract, in a new study in Spain.
The trial has been noted "the longest human trial reported thus far using a resveratrol-containing product," and found that levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker used to monitor inflammation, dropped by 26% during the study.
Patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were used for the study, who also received statins. Participants in the placebo group did not show the same decrease in inflammatory markers.
"We describe for the first time that a dietary intervention with a specific grape nuraceutical containing resveratrol 8mg significantly improved the inflammatory and fibrinolytic status of patients undergoing primary prevention of CVD," wrote researchers.
Resveratrol is a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical and is often seen as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has been associated with the 'French Paradox'. The French Paradox describes the low rates of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite a diet high in fat and large alcohol consumption.
Participants received either: a resveratrol-rich grape supplement, a conventional resveratrol-free grape supplement resveratrol, or placebo (maltodextrin) for six months, the dose was then increased to double that amount for 6 months.
The results of the resveratrol-rich grape supplement group showed a significant decrease in CRP levels, but this result was not found in either of the other two groups. Other markers of inflammation were found to decrease, including tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha, 19.8% decrease), and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1, 16.8% decrease).
Inflammation and heart disease
"In the present trial, the decrease of CRP in group [resveratrol-rich grape supplement] was correlated with decreases in TNF-alpha and PAI-1 values, which are also important markers in the onset of [cardiovascular] events," wrote researchers.
"This is consistent with the known regulation of CRP by many inflammatory signals such as TNF-alpha, which alters vascular endothelium honeostasis, impairs fibrinolytic status by increasing PAI-1 levels, and induces plaque destabilization."
"Despite the beneficial effects observed, the sample size and follow-up (1 year) prevented conclusions related to prediction of future CV events in these patients," they concluded.
Source: The American Journal of Cardiology
Study: "One-Year Consumption of a Grape Nutraceutical Containing Resveratrol Improves the Inflammatory and Fibrinolytic Status of Patients in Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease"