You probably heard about resveratrol, the antioxidant found in red wine and used as major argument for red wine consumption. Now it looks like it actually blocks many benefits of exercise.
Resveratrol, From My Tongue You Roll
Ah, resveratrol, the anti-aging, good-for-your-heart and blood pressure lowering wonder found in red wine and in the last years also sold as supplement. Together with a bit of cardiovascular fitness, people were told, it gets you the heart and health of a bull.
It Limits The Effect Of Exercise
They took 27 healthy but physically inactive men in the mid-60s age group and for eight weeks had them do high-intensity exercise. Half of them got a daily 250 mg of resveratrol and the other group a placebo.
What happened is best explained by one of the people behind the study:
We found that exercise training was highly effective in improving cardiovascular health parameters, but resveratrol supplementation attenuated the positive effects of training on several parameters including blood pressure, plasma lipid concentrations and maximal oxygen uptake.
Translation: those who received resveratrol got less out of all that fitness, because the supplement limited the postive effects of exercise. It is pretty much similar to what was seen in athletes who use multivitamins.
No Negatives In Animal Studies
This negative effect of resveratrol was never observed in animal studies, where it did what it was supposed to.
Which once more goes to show you can’t directly translate the results of animal studies to humans, as one very well known TV doctor is prone to do. Despite sharing some organic similarities, we aren’t rats after all. I would have noticed if I had a tail and grey fur.
Don’t Hit The Right Amount And It’s Counterproductive
As for why this happens, the Danish scientists reason that the human body has a specific amount of antioxidants it needs and if you go beyond that, they become counterproductive. That too is in line with the above about what happens when people use multivitamins, as these often contain much more than the recommended daily allowances.
Picture courtesy of Andreanna Moya Photography.