High dose veseratrol, a powerful polyphenol, seems capable of stabilising mild to moderate dementia patients because of its anti-inflammatory and sirtuin-producing benefits.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in cacao and dark chocolate, pistachios and peanuts; but is more commonly known for its presence in the skins of red grapes, bilberries, blueberries, raspberries and in red wine. In the fruit skins it is also a phytoalexin and defends the fruit from attacks by mould and fungi. Resveratrol is also capable of mimicking the action of fasting in the body and causes the production of highly healing hormones called sirtuins. These reduce blood sugar, insulin and inflammation levels.
In a preliminary small scale study (1) in 2015, and presented in the journal Neurology, researchers found that using high dose resveratrol on mild to moderate Alzheimer’s sufferers restored blood brain barrier integrity.
Better still, resveratrol appeared to slow and even stop the progress of the disease. The researchers showed that the effect was on a protein Amyloid-beta 40, or Abeta40. In Dementia patients, the levels of the protein decline, as it is under attack from the body’s own defences. The Resveratrol supplementation seemed to stop the decline and stabilise levels.
In a second study (2) presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto in 2016 and published in the journal Neuroinflammation 2017, researchers used high dose resveratrol starting at 500 mg a day and rising to 2 x 1000 mg. (N.B. 1000mg is 1000 times the levels found in a glass of red wine). They compared the effects on 19 patients with 19 on a placebo.
This time the researchers were interested in MMP-9 (matrix metalloproteinase-9), known to cause inflammation in the brain. In the trial group there was a 50% decline in MMP-9 levels. This decline is also seen to occur when sirtuin1 (a protein linked to calorie restriction) is produced.
Dr Scott Turner, the lead researcher, said that the team also found that the resveratrol increased levels of compounds linked to a long-term adaptive immune response. Resveratrol also decreased the swelling associated with the disease. A further review of these studies may be found in reference 3 where they are now using resveratrol alongside a drug.