The Truth About Resveratrol and Weight Loss


Many studies of resveratrol and weight loss have been conducted. And many people are excited about this miraculous substance found in red wine.

Many experiments, however, were performed in vitro (“in glass”, that is in a glass dish in a laboratory) that used animal or human fat cells and concentrations of resveratrol that would be difficult or impossible to achieve in the human body even by supplementation.

Even with live animal experiments, the amount of resveratrol given seems excessive when extended to humans. Let’s look at some examples.

Low Dose vs. High Dose of Resveratrol

In one study, resveratrol seems to show biphasic effects, that is it has different effects on the body depending on the dose. For example, experiments with living rats often show a marked difference in effects between low doses and higher doses. Low daily doses of resveratrol (around 5 mg per kg of weight) cause weight gain while higher doses (around 400 mg per kg of weight) caused weight loss. This indicates that resveratrol acts differently in the body depending on its concentration.

To get the same concentrations of resveratrol in humans, we need to administer the dose based on body weight.

Extending the effective weight loss dose to humans would be difficult to achieve with normal supplements. A 180 pound person (nearly 82 kg) would have to take 409 mg of resveratrol for the low dose and 32,727 mg of resveratrol for the higher dose. Now, several brands of “extra strength” resveratrol capsules provide 500 mg of resveratrol per capsule. Just enough to gain weight. You would need to take more than 65 such capsules every day to achieve the weight reduction level of the above experiment.

Resveratrol Protected From Gaining Weight

Another article published in the journal Cell entitled Resveratrol Improves Mitochondrial Function and Protects against Metabolic Disease by Activating SIRT1 and PGC-1α provided resveratrol in doses of 200 or 400 mg per kg of body weight each day to mice for a period of 15 weeks. The resveratrol treated mice increased their aerobic capacity and protected the mice against gaining weight with a high fat diet.

But here again, the doses used in this experiment would be hard to duplicate in humans with normal supplements. A 180 pound human would need to take 16,363 mg or 32,727 mg of resveratrol per day. This amounts to 33 to 65 of the 500 mg “extra strength” resveratrol capsules per day. Pretty high doses!

What About Normal Doses?

Another study in the journal Cell Metabolism in an article Resveratrol Supplementation Does Not Improve Metabolic Function in Nonobese Women with Normal Glucose Tolerance reports on a use of resveratrol in non-obese women. These women had normal glucose tolerance. They were given only 75 mg/day of resveratrol each day. After 12 weeks the women showed no improvement in insulin sensitivity, no change in body composition, no change in resting metabolic rate or plasma lipids.

In this study the does was 75 mg per day. That’s a mere 15% of one “extra strength” resveratrol capsule. Not nearly enough to achieve significant results seen in most other experiments.

A higher dose of resveratrol was used in a study in India, the diabetes capital of the world. This study entitled Resveratrol supplementation improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus was reported in the journal Nutrition Research. The experimental group received 250 mg of resveratrol a day (half of what an “extra strength” resveratrol capsule provides) for 3 months. Some positive improvements in the experimental group were noted such as improved HbA1c levels (indicating better control of blood glucose), improved systolic blood pressure (the high number in your blood pressure reading), and lower total protein and total cholesterol. But, there was no significant change in body weight.

Resveratrol Combinations

Because resveratrol by itself seems to be effective in weight loss only in extremely large doses, experiments have investigated combinations of resveratrol with other substances.

mice photo

Photo by sitsgirls

Quercetin in one such substance. Quercetin along with exercise seems to have a significant effect on weight loss. The journal Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in an article Quercetin intake with exercise modulates lipoprotein metabolism and reduces atherosclerosis plaque formation reports on the effects of 100 μg per day of quercetin and 30 minutes of exercise per day on mice. They used 40 mice divided into four groups of 10 mice:

  • Control group, no exercise, no qurcetin
  • Qurcetin only
  • Exercise only
  • Exercise and qurcetin

The group of mice that exercised and were given qurcetin had 78% less atherosclerotic plaque than the control group, 40% less plaque than the qurcetin only group. And the group that exercised and were given qurcetin lost significant weight compared to the control group.

Combining resveratrol, quercetin and genistein has an even greater effect on weight loss. The journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in an article Effect of resveratrol on fat mobilization reports on a test of genistein, quercetin, and resveratrol. The article recalls that flavonoids such as genistein and resveratrol combined have significant effects on fat cells including inhibiting the production of new fat cells and triggering fat cell death. Their study investigates combining genistein, quercetin, and resveratrol. They found effects of the combination of these three natural substances to be greater than the effects any component individually, or even the added effects of each used separately. Together they resulted in significantly decreased fat cell viability and increased fat cell death.

Where Can You Get Resveratrol, Quercetin and Genistein?

These are natural substances which can be found in everyday foods.

Foods containing quercetin include leafy greens, tomatoes, berries and broccoli. Some specific foods include apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, spinach, kale, and citrus fruits.

Quercetin is found in capers (the salt-brined flower buds of the Capparis spinosa plant), and onions,

Foods containing genistein include leguminous plants like soybeans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), alfalfa and clover sprouts, barley meal, broccoli, cauliflower, and sunflower, caraway, and clover seeds.

Resveratrol, Quercetin and Genistein Supplements

You can also get supplements containing Resveratrol, Quercetin and Genistein.

Click here to see some of the major suppliers of these supplements.

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