Reservatrol is a common and natural antioxidant that is found in red grapes. Until now, it has been pushed as a heart healthy option to many people, but a new study suggests that, for older men, reservatrol may actually work to counteract cardiovascular exercise benefits.
The study, done at University of Copenhagen, suggests that eating a diet high in antioxidants may actually reduce the healthy benefits of exercise, including cholesterol and healthy blood pressure. Researchers already knew that aging is commonly linked to reduced vascular functions caused from oxidative strain that occurs over time, what they didn’t know was that the common antioxidant reservatrol, which in the past has shown benefits in improving cardiovascular health and decreasing vascular disease, may not be as beneficial for the body as previously thought.
It was expected that reservatrol would help older men to improve their cardiovascular health, but researchers were in for a surprise. Unlike the results found in animal tests, this antioxidant works in older men to counteract the benefits of cardio exercise.
Over the course of eight weeks, researchers followed 27 participants. All of them were male, and all of them were about 65 years old. They were all in good health. The participants all embraced a high intensity workout routine, but only half of them were given 250 mg of reservatrol daily. The other half of the participants were given a placebo.
It was a double blind study that found that high intensity exercise was extremely effective in improving the cardiovascular health in the participants, but the supplements of reservatrol actually negated the benefits of the exercise and affected areas such as blood pressure, maximal oxygen uptake and plasma lipid concentrations.
Essentially, the reservatrol supplement wiped out all the benefits that the participants were seeing from the exercise itself.
These results come at a time where there have been many other studies that both denounce and proclaim the healthy benefits of reservatrol. In fact, one 2012 study found that reservatrol may be an effective therapy for heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. However, another 2012 study finds that this antioxidant may not be beneficial to healthy women.
While the arguments for and against the antioxidant continue, the University of Copenhagen study results suggest that the reactive oxygen species that are generally thought to cause disease and aging may be an important signal that causes healthy changes in response to exercise and other stresses.
Don’t cut out that glass of red wine just yet; researchers report that the amount of reservatrol given to the study participants is more than what is typically ingested in food and wine, and they report that normal consumption of the antioxidant is likely still a good thing.