IS RESVERATROL the elixir of life? It certainly seems that way. According to a study published in the journal of clinical endocrinology & metabolism, resveratrol shown a potential for addressing a hormone imbalance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). An estimated 5 million to 6 million women in the United States have PCOS. It is one of the most common endocrine conditions in women of childbearing age causing elevated levels of testosterone and other hormones called androgens, such as dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). These increased levels can contribute to infertility, weight gain and menstrual irregularities; they also add to the risk of developing health problems such as diabetes. “There are very few treatments that can lower androgen levels, and usually those treatments result in an inability to conceive,” said the study’s senior author, Antoni Duleba of the University of California at San Diego, citing hormonal birth-control pills as one such treatment. “Resveratrol, on the other hand, is a natural additive and appears to have no adverse effects.”
Thirty women with PCOS participated in the study, conducted at Poland’s Poznan University of Medical Sciences. Each woman was given either a resveratrol supplement or a placebo pill. The participants had blood samples taken before and after the trial to record their levels of testosterone and DHEAS. They also took oral glucose tolerance tests at the beginning and end of the study to measure diabetes risk factors. Among those who received the resveratrol supplement, total testosterone levels declined by 23.1 percent, and DHEAS levels fell by 22.2 percent. In contrast, the placebo group saw a 2.9 percent rise in testosterone levels and a 1O.5 percent rise in DHEAS levels.
Before you start glugging large quantities of red wine, it’s important to remember that, as with most resveratrol-related research, the results can’t be replicated through wine consumption. To get the equivalent amount of resveratrol a person would have to consume 1OO to 2OO liters of wine a day. But perhaps that glass or two of red wine may act as a little boost.