Unraveling the Relationship between Resveratrol and Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition where a person develops high blood sugar levels. It happens when either the pancreas can't make enough insulin or the cells develop resistance to the insulin produced by the body (insulin resistance). Sustained increase in the blood sugar levels damage both small and large blood vessels, leading to complications related to heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes. If left untreated for a long time, diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, loss of vision, kidney failure and limb amputation. It is, therefore, important to keep your sugar levels within a healthy range to prevent serious health complications and poor quality of life.
While family history plays an important role, other risk factors for diabetes include obesity, excessive fat around the abdomen, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet. People with type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by making significant changes in their diet and lifestyle, and by using natural supplements such as resveratrol. Can resveratrol supplements help in managing diabetes? Resveratrol, a natural compound found in red grapes, berries and peanuts, is being studied for its potential benefits in reducing blood sugar levels and managing type 2 diabetes. It seems resveratrol supplements may also be helpful in reducing the risk of diabetes related complications. Let’s explore the connection between resveratrol and diabetes.
Resveratrol Overview: Overall health benefits and Role in diabetes
Resveratrol, a polyphenol, is a compound produced by some plants in response to stressful conditions such as injury, nutritional deficiency or exposure to UV rays. Red grapes, peanuts, most berries, cocoa and Japanese knotweed are some sources of resveratrol.
Overall health benefits of resveratrol
Resveratrol is fast emerging as a natural compound with amazing anti-ageing benefits. Studies show that resveratrol supplements boost cardiovascular health, protect brain health and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders.
Resveratrol benefits for diabetes: A deeper look
Research suggests that resveratrol offers many benefits to improve your metabolic health and help manage type 2 diabetes. [1-3]
- Prevents the progression of type 2 diabetes
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Helps in metabolic syndrome
- Protects and preserves pancreatic tissue
- Delays complications associated with diabetes
Resveratrol works through various mechanisms to improve your metabolic health.
Antioxidant properties: Overwhelming production of free radicals in the cells leads to oxidative stress in the body, resulting in cellular damage. Oxidative stress and resulting cascade of inflammatory reactions are two major factors that contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Due to its powerful antioxidant properties, resveratrol scavenges free radicals, reduces the production of reactive oxygen species, stimulates the production of antioxidant enzymes within the body and promotes the function of many antioxidant molecules. Resveratrol also reduces the production of molecules that are known to promote inflammation in the body. 
Activates sirtuins: Resveratrol activates sirtuins, a family of enzymes that regulate many cellular processes such as energy metabolism, ageing, cellular stress response, DNA repair, mitochondrial function and anti-oxidant mechanisms. Research show that activation of sirtuins improves healthy ageing and reduces metabolic disorders. Out of all the sirtuins, SIRT1 is the most studied and is believed to protect us from health conditions associated with inflammation and ageing such as obesity, neuro-degeneration, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) plays an important role in regulating energy or glucose metabolism. SIRT1 protects the beta cells of the pancreas from oxidative damage and inflammation. Beta cells are responsible for secreting insulin and healthy insulin release plays a central role in regulating blood glucose levels. After you have eaten, your body breaks down food into glucose for the cells to use as energy. The resulting spike in blood glucose levels triggers the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that helps the glucose in the bloodstream to move into cells, where it is used as a fuel to produce energy. Insulin also signals the liver and fat cells to store extra glucose for later use. As glucose enters the cells, its level in the blood reduces.
Activates AMPK: Resveratrol activates AMPK, an enzyme works as a nutrient sensor and plays a very important role in glucose and fat metabolism. When activated, AMPK increases the uptake of glucose by muscle cells.
Resveratrol helps manage diabetes-related complications
Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and bone fractures. It is because high blood sugar levels cause inflammation and damage in small and big blood vessels. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, resveratrol prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, protects the cells of the endothelium (a layer of cells that lines the interior of the blood vessels) from oxidative damage, and stimulates the production of NO, a substance that keeps blood vessels flexible and overall healthy.
While people are likely to develop stiff and hardened arteries as they age, chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes fast-track this development. This causes premature ageing and hardening of the arteries. Arterial stiffness further increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, and resveratrol supplements help to reverse these abnormal changes in the blood vessels of people with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Studies suggest that resveratrol supplements may help reduce the arterial stiffness due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and through activation of SIRT1, gene associated with longevity. 
Diabetes also negatively affects brain health and increases the risk of dementia. A study found that taking resveratrol supplements improves cerebrovascular function and maintains cognitive health and performance in people with type 2 diabetes. 
Inflammation and oxidative stress also cause poor bone health and increase the risk of bone fracture in type 2 diabetes. A study found that taking 500 mg of resveratrol regularly prevented loss of bone density in patients with type 2 diabetes. 
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition with huge implications on your overall health and quality of life. There has been some exciting research that shows how lifestyle modifications and nutritional supplements can help prevent, reverse or reduce the risk of diabetes and its life-threatening complications. Resveratrol, known for its ability to promote healthy ageing, shows some incredible anti-diabetic properties. Resveratrol can be used in the effective management of type 2 diabetes and, due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature, resveratrol also helps in delaying the progression of serious health complications associated with type 2 diabetes.
Can resveratrol help in diabetes?
Resveratrol supplements help in the management of type 2 diabetes as it regulates blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance. Resveratrol is also helpful in managing complications associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease, arterial stiffness, cognitive issues and poor bone health.
Can resveratrol reduce glucose levels?
Many studies show that resveratrol supplements are effective in reducing fasting glucose level.
- Zhang Y, Ma N. Effects of resveratrol therapy on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation, and renal function in the elderly patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A randomized controlled clinical trial protocol. Medicine. 2022
- Hou CY, Tain YL, Yu HR, Huang LT. The effects of resveratrol in the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Int J Mol Sci. 2019
- Zhu et al. Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2017
- Mahjabeen et al. Role of resveratrol supplementation in regulation of glucose hemostasis, inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2022.
- Can the antioxidant resveratrol reduce artery stiffness in diabetics? American Heart Association. 2017.
- Wong et al. Low dose resveratrol improves cerebrovascular function in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases. 2016.
- Bo et al. Effects of resveratrol on bone health in type 2 diabetic patients. A double-blind randomized-controlled trial. Nutr Diabetes. 2018