A popular plant extract, called resveratrol, can suppress inflammation in humans, according to a new study.
The extract is already known to prolong life in yeast and lower animals due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Resveratrol is produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi, and is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine.
Husam Ghanim, PhD, UB research assistant professor of medicine also said that the compound could help insulin resistance as well, a condition related to oxidative stress.
The results of the trial showed that resveratrol suppressed the generation of free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, unstable molecules known to cause oxidative stress and release proinflammatory factors into the blood stream, resulting in damage to the blood vessel lining.
The trial blood samples also showed suppression of the inflammatory protein tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and other similar compounds that increase inflammation in blood vessels and interfere with insulin action, causing insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes.
However, it is possible that something else other than resveratrol caused these changes.
"The product we used has only 20 percent resveratrol, so it is possible that something else in the preparation is responsible for the positive effects," said Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, UB distinguished professor of medicine and senior author on the study.
Results of the study appear on the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism website.