June 3, 2014 — Resveratrol, a component of red wine, is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements that are marketed for anti-aging and other health benefits. However, a new study has found that resveratrol causes pancreatic abnormalities in fetuses of pregnant macaque monkeys who were given the supplement.
The study, published by The FASEB Journal, was conducted by researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Colorado-Denver. Researchers administered Resveratrol supplements every day to pregnant obese macaques who were fed a Western diet. Another group of monkeys were not given the supplements.
The study indicated that Resveratrol had some benefits, including improved blood-flow through the placenta to the fetus. However, resveratrol had significantly negative side effects on pancreatic development in monkey fetuses.
Pancreatic abnormalities can contribute to serious complications during pregnancy because the pancreas is responsible for regulating blood-sugar levels. These complications are more common among babies of obese women who eat a Western diet.
The researchers concluded that women should be careful about what they consume during pregnancy, and supplements like Resveratrol should not be used without consulting with a doctor. Even supplements that have health benefits for a mother may have harmful effects on a developing fetus.
According to a Dr. Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, in a press release:
“We’ve known for a long time that resveratrol is pharmacologically active, and we’re just now really beginning to understand the pros and cons of consuming high concentrations of this substance. As we begin to establish a safety profile for resveratrol and other dietary supplements, findings like this should come as no surprise. There are always negative side effects when you eat, drink, take or do too much of anything.”
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