NEWS BRIEF: Resveratrol slows declining lung function

I just love when one of my go-to supplements makes the news. Especially when it’s for a use I had never considered. Bonus points if that use is a condition I just wrote about…

In the April issue of Logical Health Alternatives, I told you about a debilitating lung ailment that far too many people ignore. It’s called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and if left unchecked it can have a serious impact on quality of life.

Well I just came across a study that showed one of my favorite supplements — resveratrol — may help slow decline in lung function.

Before I tell you about the study, let me give you a little refresher on what COPD is and how it works.

COPD isn’t just one condition. It’s actually a catchall term used to describe several progressive breathing disorders. While the conditions are all unique, they have one thing in common: They all involve damage to the lungs that makes breathing increasingly difficult as time goes on.

The lungs power the respiratory system. When you inhale, your lungs fill with oxygen. That oxygen travels through tube-shaped airways in the lungs into small sacs called alveoli. In the blood vessels of the alveoli, the oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide, which the lungs expel when you exhale.

When they’re healthy, the alveoli function like little balloons, expanding on the inhale and contracting on the exhale. But for some people, COPD damages the alveoli and makes them too tough to expand and contract effectively. In others, the walls between the alveoli are destroyed.

Any of these changes to the alveoli can lead to difficulty breathing. Which is why a key target for COPD therapy is to preserve the health of the alveoli. And according to the recent study I mentioned above, resveratrol may help to do just that.

The study, published in the journal Thorax, looked at how inhaled resveratrol affected age-related lung degeneration.

As a reminder, resveratrol is an antioxidant that’s found in red grapes and wine. It’s associated with countless health benefits, but this is the first study to look at its effects in lung function.

Using a mouse model of premature aging, the researchers tested resveratrol against a control for three months. At the end of the study, the mice that received resveratrol had experienced a slower rate of lung decline. Especially significant is the fact that the alveoli suffered less damage in the resveratrol group.

The results are preliminary, but promising. If the research bears out in larger trials and human studies, resveratrol may turn out to have one more benefit — preventing age-related damage to the lungs. And that would be a breath of fresh air.

But regardless of what comes of future research, you can’t go wrong adding resveratrol to your daily supplement regimen. I recommend 500 mg per day.



“Inhaled resveratrol treatments slow ageing-related degenerative changes in mouse lung,” Thorax 2017; 72: 451-459