We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of berries and grapes thanks to their high concentrations of resveratrol, a compound that activates longevity chemistry at the cellular level. Researchers at the University of Michigan have been taking a harder look at grapes and found that the benefits may run deeper than just longevity.Researchers studied the effect of a blend of green, red and black grapes that were integrated into the diets of laboratory rats as part of a high-fat, American style diet. Three months in, the rats that received the grape-enhanced diet had lower blood pressure and better heart function than rats who received no grapes. The study rats also demonstrated lower triglycerides and improved glucose tolerance. The researchers also looked at markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, finding much lower levels in the experimental rats over the control rats.
This study was of course just an animal model but using animals that have been demonstrated to be good analogues for human cardiovascular disease. The rats were fed 3% of their diet as powdered grape extracts which is far beyond the level a human might ever consume. With those caveats, though, the study still shows promise for the antioxidant phytochemicals in grapes for fighting the wages not necessarily just of an unhealthy diet, but the wages of aging as well.
An interesting but related aside, Glaxo Pharmaceuticals has canceled a trial of their proprietary resveratrol formulation because of “unexpected safety events.” The Reuters article is a little unclear on details but Glaxo was apparently hoping to pair or compare their compound with cancer drugs. It’s not totally clear how Glaxo is hoping to capitalize on what is really a fairly easily isolated compound available at most vitamin stores but they have already completed three other trials for type II diabetes.