MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Semba: Resveratrol levels in older adults are not related to the risk of heart disease or cancer and are not related with lifespan. These findings were made in the InCHIANTI Study, a rigorously conducted study of human aging that is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.
MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Semba: All the findings were unexpected, given the evidence from animal models and cell studies that suggested potent anti-disease and life-extending effects of resveratrol. In retrospect, the findings from animal and cell studies are limited. Higher doses of resveratrol in the form of supplements have not shown consistent benefit in clinical trials.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Semba: The dietary intake of resveratrol alone from red wine, chocolate, berries, and other foods is not likely to confer any protection against heart disease or cancer or extend lifespan. This is not to say that red wine, chocolate, and other resveratrol-rich foods are not beneficial for health. These foods are complex and contain many other antioxidants besides resveratrol. Based upon this study, we cannot pin the benefits on one substance – resveratrol.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Semba: It is not known whether dietary intake of resveratrol may have some protective health effects in certain groups of adults with obesity or with high dietary intake of saturated fats.
Semba RD, Ferrucci L, Bartali B, et al. Resveratrol Levels and All-Cause Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Adults. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 12, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1582.