New research published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that resveratrol may improve short-term memory in overweight, but otherwise healthy, older adults.
Nearly 50 volunteers were given a memory test and instructed to take either resveratrol pills (200 milligrams/day, the amount in 200-650 glasses of red wine) or a placebo. After six months of daily intake, their memory was tested again. Researchers found that those taking resveratrol had better memory for word lists they had seen 30 minutes prior than those who took the placebo pills, suggesting improvements in short-term memory. After imaging the participants’ brains, researchers also noticed signs that the hippocampus, the part of the brain most responsible for memory, was working better.
Much about how resveratrol works in the human body, particularly the brain, remains unclear; more research is needed to validate and expand on these early results. It also remains unclear if low levels of resveratrol from dietary sources, like red wine and chocolate, have an impact on brain health. In fact, a study published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine found dietary intake of resveratrol did not reduce inflammation, heart disease, or cancer, or lower the risk of death.
Aaron Carman, PhD, was previously the Assistant Director of Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention at the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. Dr. Carman received his doctorate in microbiology and molecular genetics from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
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