A collaborative study from Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Colorado-Denver warns against use of Resveratrol supplements by pregnant women
A widely available dietary supplement that had been considered safe — and that some claim provides anti-aging and other health benefits — caused significant developmental abnormalities in the pancreas of offspring of pregnant monkeys who were given the supplement, according to a study published today in the FASEB Journal, from the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology.
Because of the results, authors of the study strongly recommend that pregnant women or women who might get pregnant avoid taking the supplement.
The supplement contains resveratrol, which is a plant compound found in the skin of red grapes and in peanuts and berries, among other plants. The supplement form of the compound has been available in pharmacies and health food stores for years, with claims that it has a wide range of health benefits. The compound is thought to be an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and some animal studies do confirm some benefits. All previous studies had found it to be safe in humans.
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's Oregon National Primate Research Center and the University of Colorado-Denver were focusing on some of those potential benefits when they began studying the compound in monkeys. They were specifically focusing on whether resveratrol might help protect against some of the effects of a Western high-fat, high-calorie diet on pregnant women — effects that include complications during pregnancy and long-term health complications for the baby.
The research indicated that resveratrol did provide some real benefits in the pregnant monkeys, including improved blood flow through the placenta to the fetus. Placental abnormalities contribute to many of the pregnancy complications and health issues with babies of obese women who eat an unhealthy Western diet.
But the researchers also found an effect that surprised them — resveratrol had a significantly negative effect on the development of the pancreas in the monkey fetus. The pancreas is critical for the body's regulation of blood glucose.
“In the beginning, the results were promising and we had hoped to find a natural supplement that could improve the pregnancy complications. However, the negative impact on the pancreas is really concerning," said Kevin Grove, Ph.D., head of the Division of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism at ONPRC and a senior co-author of the study. "It immediately raised an alarm."
Antonio Frias, M.D., is director of the diabetes and pregnancy program at OHSU’s Center for Women’s Health, a scientist at ONPRC and a senior co-author of the study. He has not recommended that pregnant women take resveratrol in the past. But he thinks it's especially important now for obstetric providers to ask pregnant women or reproductive-age women whether they are taking it.
"I think it's something obstetric providers should now ask and they should advise women to stop taking it," Frias said.
Frias said the study results point to the benefits of research of this type in animals. It could have taken years for human clinical trials to uncover this potential effect — if they had uncovered it at all, he said. “Although we are uncertain of the long-term impact of these changes, problems with pancreatic development might not have been evident for many years after the child was born,” he said.
Researchers will continue to study the resveratrol effects on non-human primates to determine if there might be a way to isolate the positive effects while preventing the negative impact on pancreatic development.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant #s R24 DK090964 and P51-OD-011092).
Oregon Health & Science University is a nationally prominent research university and Oregon’s only public academic health center. It serves patients throughout the region with a Level 1 trauma center and nationally recognized Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. OHSU operates dental, medical, nursing and pharmacy schools that rank high both in research funding and in meeting the university’s social mission. OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute helped pioneer personalized medicine through a discovery that identified how to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy ones. OHSU Brain Institute scientists are nationally recognized for discoveries that have led to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute is a global leader in ophthalmic imaging, and in clinical trials related to eye disease.
The Oregon National Primate Research Center is one of the eight National Primate Research Centers supported by NIH. ONPRC is a registered research institution, inspected regularly by the United States Department of Agriculture. It operates in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and has an assurance of regulatory compliance on file with the National Institutes of Health. The ONPRC also participates in the voluntary accreditation program overseen by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).
Todd Murphy | Eurek Alert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research