Resveratrol as a Main-Line Therapy for Cardio Health
A new view of the power of nutrition is emerging.
Study Title:Unique vascular protective properties of natural products: supplements or future main-line drugs with significant anti-atherosclerotic potential?
Natural health products (NHP) which include minerals, vitamins and herbal remedies are not generally considered by medical practitioners as conventional medicines and as such are not frequently prescribed by health centre’s as either main-line or supplemental treatments. In the field of cardiovascular medicine, studies have shown that typically, less than half of patients suffering from coronary syndromes chose to take any form of NHP supplement and these products are rarely recommended by their medical practitioner. Vascular/endothelial cell damage is a key instigator of coronary arterial plaque development which often culminates in thrombosis and myocardial infarction (MI). Current treatment for patients known to be at risk of primary or secondary (MI) includes lipid lowering statins, anti-clotting agents (e.g. tissue plasminogen activator; tPA) and drugs for stabilization of blood pressure such as betablockers. However, evidence has been building which suggests that components of at least several NHP (e.g. aged garlic extract (AGExt), resveratrol and green tea extracts (GTE)) may have significant vascular protective effects through reduction of oxidative stress, lowering of blood pressure, reduction in platelet aggregation, vasodilation and inhibition of abnormal angiogenesis. Therefore, in this review we will discuss in detail the potential of these substances (chosen on the basis of their potency and complimentarity) as anti-atherosclerotic agents and the justification for their consideration as main-line additional supplements or prescriptions.
Trans-resveratrol, a polyphenol, and the major grapevine phytoalexin (3,5,4´- trihydroxystilbene; Figure 2) has attracted a lot of attention in the last couple of years due to its extremely potent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory capacity and its potential use in the treatment of vascular disease and prevention or attenuation of atherosclerosis . This group of anti-oxidants is thought to be responsible for the ‘French paradox’ where a low mortality rate for CAD exists in the population despite their diet of high fat and smoking
Figure 2 Schematic showing the structure of resveratrol and some of its most potent effects on intracellular signalling associated with prevention of EC activation and unstable plaque development. Its potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and EC protective effects are included here and are thought to be the main reason for its cardio-protective effects and ability to inhibit plaque de-stabilization Resveratrol also inhibited both endothelial cell migration and MCP-1-induced monocyte cell chemotaxis, which could potentially reduce neointimal vascularisation and monocyte recruitment into a growing plaque . Regarding inflammation, roscovitine is a potent inhibitor of NF-κB activation, other inflammatory gene expression (e.g. IL-6, IL-8), endothelial cell adhesion molecule expression including ICAM-1 and monocyte adhesiveness to endothelial cells (and recruitment into the artery wall) in an Akt-dependent manner [35,41]. Resveratrol also inhibits cyclooxygenase and hydroperoxidase functions thereby reducing inflammation even more potently . Using an apoE knockout mouse model, Norata et al.  showed that animals fed with a supplement containing cathechin, caffeic acid and resveratrol, had significantly smaller plaques after 8 weeks (36–40%) in the aortic sinus and ascending aorta mainly due to a reduction in inflammatory infiltration and expression of MCO-1, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, CCR1, CCR2 and ET1 in the vascular wall.
Similarly, Kim et al.  showed that oral administration of resveratrol suppressed intimal hyperplasia in a wire-injured femoral artery mouse model. Their further examination of cultured smooth muscle cells revealed inhibition of PDGF-induced ROS and cell
Other studies show the enormous potential clinical applications of this compound from demonstrations of its complete lack of toxicity in humans even at high doses, to its lipid lowering capability in mammalian models and general ‘reduction in modifiable risk factors’
Slevin M, Ahmed N, Wang Q, McDowell G, Badimon L.. Unique vascular protective properties of natural products: supplements or future main-line drugs with significant anti-atherosclerotic potential? Vasc Cell. 2012 April 4(1):9.
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