Following concerns about hormone therapy, postmenopausal women need alternative options to manage menopause-related symptoms and improve their well-being. A 14-week pilot study has shown that supplementation with resveratrol, a phytoestrogen with circulatory benefits, can improve aspects of well-being including chronic pain, which is a common complaint in postmenopausal women. We aimed to confirm these benefits in a larger, long-term study.
The Resveratrol for Healthy Ageing in Women study, a 24-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-period crossover intervention trial of resveratrol supplementation (75 mg BID) was conducted in 125 healthy postmenopausal women to evaluate effects on cognitive performance (results published elsewhere). Aspects of well-being including pain perception, mood and depressive symptoms, menopausal symptoms, sleep quality, and quality of life were assessed with questionnaires as secondary outcomes of the study. Cerebrovascular responsiveness to hypercapnia was measured as a surrogate marker of cerebrovascular function.
Resveratrol supplementation reduced composite pain score (P < 0.001), especially in overweight individuals; this was associated with improvements in cerebrovascular responsiveness to hypercapnia (R = −0.329, P = 0.014). Somatic menopausal symptoms (P = 0.024) and general well-being (P = 0.010) were also improved after resveratrol supplementation.
These results confirm the pilot study finding that resveratrol supplementation can reduce chronic pain in age-related osteoarthritis and improve menopause-related quality of life in postmenopausal women. These improvements are sustained by supplementation for at least 12 months and are associated with enhancement of circulatory function.
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