Can the health supplement resveratrol curb the notorious hot flushes, insomnia, irritability and occasional mental lapses that often accompany menopause?
That’s the question being posed by researchers at the University of Newcastle’s Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) in a new study aimed at guiding women aged 45-plus towards healthy ageing.
Resveratrol, commonly found in red wine, grapes and berries, is said to enhance circulatory function, which is important at a time when a woman’s hormone levels are declining.
“Some women transit the menopause with few or no symptoms while others suffer for many years. Even though the symptoms may eventually disappear there is nothing to celebrate,” lead investigator Dr Rachel Wong said. “That’s because postmenopausal women no longer have the protective benefits of oestrogen.
“This increases their risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke – conditions closely related to poor blood circulation. A persistent decrease in blood flow within the brain can also contribute to premature cognitive decline.”
CNRC Director Professor Peter Howe adds that resveratrol has multiple benefits for blood vessel health.
“We’re aiming to see if regular resveratrol supplementation can enhance blood flow responses to specific regions of the brain and thereby improve both mood and mental abilities, especially memory, in post-menopausal women,” he said.
The team is looking to recruit 80 post-menopausal women in the 45-85 age range for a randomised, placebo-controlled trial of a daily resveratrol dose of 150mg for 14 weeks. Cerebral blood flow will be measured non-invasively with ultrasound and participants will be surveyed to monitor their mood, quality of life (including chronic pain) and other menopausal symptoms.
This project is supported by a 3D Healing Walk grant provided by HMRI. For further information or to check suitability, volunteers should phone Hamish Evans on 4921-8616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Professor Peter Howe, Dr Rachel Wong and Hamish Evans are members of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, researching in conjunction with HMRI’s Cardiovascular Research Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.