Published July 23, 2013
Talk about the ultimate buzzkill.
A new study has found that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in red grapes, may actually undo the benefits of cardiovascular exercise in older men, Medical News Today reported.
Red wine is often considered to be beneficial for the heart due to the presence of resveratrol, and many drug companies have manufactured the antioxidant into supplements, touting its cardiovascular benefits.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen followed 27 men with an average age of 65 who were in good health. Over an eight-week period, all of the study’s participants performed high-intensity exercises, but half received 250 milligrams of resveratrol each day, while the other half received a placebo.
For the men taking resveratrol supplements, it seemed as though the benefits they received from exercising had been reduced.
"We found that exercise training was highly effective in improving cardiovascular health parameters, but resveratrol supplementation attenuated the positive effects of training on several parameters, including blood pressure, plasma lipid concentrations and maximal oxygen uptake," said Lasse Gliemann, a researcher who worked on the study.
According to Medical News Today, previous animal studies have shown that resveratrol helps to decrease vascular disease and improve cardiovascular health, so the researchers had initially expected the supplement to improve cardiovascular functions in older men. However, the study revealed that the antioxidant may perform differently in humans than in their animal counterparts.
The University of Copenhagen research suggests that too many antioxidants may actually be harmful to health and that "reactive oxygen species, generally thought of as causing aging and disease, may be a necessary signal that causes healthy adaptions in response to stresses like exercise."