Resveratrol from Red Grapes Blocks Endometriosis

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A new study out of Germany found that resveratrol, the popular phytochemical derived from the skins of red grapes, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits may also have potent anti-angiogenic properties that inhibit the growth of endometriotic lesions.

How it Works

The infiltration and survival of endometriotic lesion requires ample blood supply. This requires new blood vessels to supply the endometriotic tissue with vital nutrients and growth factors. Without those blood vessels, the tissue dies. Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels are born. A compound that is anti-angiogenic blocks the birth or growth of new blood vessels, effectively starving the lesion or the tumor. Blocking angiogenesis is a popular mode of treatment for cancer, but has not been fully investigated in endometriosis.

In a mouse model of endometriosis (uterine tissue is surgically implanted in the mouse abdomen and allowed to grow), researchers tested whether resveratrol would block angiogenesis. It did. Mice fed 40 milligrams of resveratrol per kilogram of body weight per day of resveratrol had significantly less vascularization and smaller endometriotic lesions than did the control group.

Bottom Line

Will drinking resveratrol inhibit the growth human endometriosis? It’s too early to tell, but an emerging body of research is showing remarkable results with resveratrol and cancer in human and animal studies. More research is needed to determine its role in endometriosis and the appropriate dosing strategies. The nutritional supplements currently on the market may not have the concentration or purity of resveratrol used in the lab study. Just for reference, neither does red wine. This study was short, only four weeks, and of course, extrapolating from mice to humans is always problematic. The research is promising, however, and points to a new direction in endometriosis research – one that includes dietary changes.

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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