Resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine and grapes is popular for its anti-ageing and cardiovascular properties. Much has been said of its benefits for the heart and blood vessels and improving cardiovascular performance.

But researchers at Copenhagen University have found that the compound may actually blunt the benefits of exercise in older men.

According to the findings of the new study, eating a diet rich in antioxidants cuts many of the health benefits of exercise, including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.

“These findings indicate that, whereas exercise training effectively improves several cardiovascular health parameters in aged men, concomitant resveratrol supplementation blunts most of these effects,” researchers wrote in the Journal of Physiology.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers enrolled 27 healthy but physically inactive men, all 65 and older.

All participants were required to undertake an intense eight-week exercise program of CrossFit and circuit training. In addition, half of the men were assigned to take 250 mg of resveratrol per day, while others took a placebo.

During the 8-week program all participants were monitored for multiple metrics of cardiovascular fitness.

Researchers observed the cardiovascular benefits of exercise including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But participants taking resveratrol seem to benefit less from the regular exercise regimen than men who took placebo.

The participants in the placebo group reported a 45 percent greater increase in maximal oxygen uptake than the resveratrol group.

Unlike the resveratrol group, members of the placebo group posted a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Levels of a vasodilator prostacyclin were also lower in the resveratrol group, researchers highlighted.

“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,” said researcher Lasse Gliemann.

“We were surprised to find that resveratrol supplementation in aged men blunts the positive effects of exercise training on cardiovascular health parameters,” study’s lead researcher, Ylva Hellsten said.

Although the study does put forth a negative side of resveratrol, the findings are not that worrisome, Hellsten clarified.

“It should be noted that the quantities of resveratrol given in our research study are much higher than what could be obtained by intake of natural foods,” Hellsten said.

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