Many women, having gone through menopause, are left struggling, trying to manage the symptoms of the hormonal changes they have experienced as a result of this phase of life. Additionally, there are worries about health issues associated with bone mineral density, cognitive function, heart, and circulatory health as well as overall quality of life that may make living in the postmenopausal phase of life more challenging.
Many alternatives are available that have been shown to improve a woman’s day-to-day, one of them being resveratrol.
Resveratrol has many health benefits as a phytoestrogen
One of the reasons resveratrol offers an array of promising benefits to postmenopausal women is because of its mechanism of action on the body’s estrogen receptors. During menopause, estrogen levels are driven down, which results in the multitude of symptoms that affect multiple body systems, and which have a significant impact on quality of life.
Resveratrol is known as a phytoestrogen. A phytoestrogen is a compound that while not an estrogen itself, has the ability to bind to the estrogen receptors in the body. As a phytoestrogen, resveratrol may be able to fill the gap of lower circulating estrogens in postmenopausal women, essentially balancing out the processes that estrogen would typically carry out. As a result, the addition of resveratrol may improve the way postmenopausal women feel, look and perform, improving their overall quality of life. Research into resveratrol in postmenopausal women suggests that it also mitigates some of the most common health issues they may face. Of particular interest are the results that have been drawn from one of the longest running trials that focuses on resveratrol for healthy ageing in women. This RESHAW (Resveratrol for Healthy Ageing in Women) trial, which took place over the course of 24 months, aimed to assess the health benefits in postmenopausal women while taking 75mg of Veri-teTM resveratrol twice a day versus the symptoms that persisted while taking a placebo.
The results showed the following:
Improvements in bone mineral density
Postmenopausal women, even those without a higher risk of osteoporosis, are more susceptible to fractures in their lumbar spine as well as their hips. In fact, around 43% of all hospitalizations in older women are a result of broken bones due to poor bone mineral density1.
The RESHAW trial showed that after 12 months of supplementation of Veri-teTM resveratrol, bone density levels improved in the lumbar spine as well as the neck of the femur when compared to the placebo. The improvement in bone mineral density in the neck of the femur was associated with a significantly reduced risk of suffering a hip fracture over a 10-year period. Additionally, a common marker of bone degradation was lower in the women taking the resveratrol, showing that there was a great potential of resveratrol to slow bone loss in postmenopausal women2, especially when resveratrol is supplemented alongside calcium and vitamin D.
Potential impact on cognitive function
As a result of the aging process and lower circulating estrogen levels, postmenopausal women may experience poor repair of their circulatory tissues. Estrogen is an essential hormone that is involved in flexibility of the endothelial tissues that line the circulatory system. Without sufficient estrogen, these tissues may stiffen; a process that is highly associated with reduced blood flow to the brain, which results in cognitive decline3.
During the RESHAW study, women taking the Veri-teTM resveratrol supplement had a significant improvement in their overall cognitive performance compared to women taking the placebo. Women over the age of 65 were also shown to have improvement in their verbal memory recollection compared to women who were younger than 65.
Taking these observations into account, resveratrol supplementation could have potential cognitive benefits4.
Improved cardiovascular health
Similarly, to the process involved in cognitive health as described above, poor endothelial tissue maintenance may increase the risk of cardiovascular events in postmenopausal women. With resveratrol, however, improve- ments in endothelial tissue maintenance may also improve cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women5. Improvements in blood pressure have also been shown with supplementation of resveratrol by the same authors. In one study, 19 overweight/obese men and postmenopausal women who were living with untreated high blood pressure received either three doses of resveratrol at weekly intervals or they took a placebo. When compared to the placebo group, the resveratrol group showed significant improvements in their blood pressure markers, which are also significant in overall cardiovascular health6.
Better quality of life
As a result of reduced bone mineral density and risk of osteoporosis, postmenopausal women may suffer from increased episodes of pain, which reduce their quality of life.
During the RESHAW study, women taking the Veri-teTM resveratrol supplement, as noted above, saw a significant reduction in their bone turnover, which results in improved bone mass and reduced pain. Additionally, improvements in overall quality of life as a result of resveratrol supplementation and its effects on blood flow were noted, particularly with regards to improvements in postmenopausal symptoms such as mood and depression, as well as sleep and cognitive function7.
Another common frustration in postmenopausal women is weight gain, which is often a result of poor insulin control and resulting high blood sugar8. While research is still continuing in this area, there is already mounting evidence for the use of resveratrol in weight management, particularly due to its effects on blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Researched in type 2 diabetics, resveratrol supplementation has been shown to have a significant and positive effect on fasting blood sugar and insulin levels9; two factors that may also be involved in poor weight management in postmenopausal women.
Women, having gone through menopause, are in need of alternatives that provide beneficial support to the multitude of symptoms they may experience as a result. Resveratrol is fast proving to be one of those women.