Unlike most supplements, the lay public is at least a little bit familiar with resveratrol. Geezers and middle-aged yuppies know that it's found in red wine and often point to its life-extending properties to justify their excess drinking. Likewise, their kids may know about it because they heard their sloshed parents or grandparents mumbling about it.
It's true that resveratrol may extend life because it's been shown to have positive effects on blood vessel and joint health, along with positive effects on insulin and estrogen levels. It even fights cancer and repairs DNA. However, according to research conducted by Italian scientists, resveratrol may be even more valuable than we thought because it also seems to speed up muscle growth.
Dr. Montesano and her colleagues wanted to know if resveratrol did anything to young muscle cells, so they exposed the cells to different concentrations of the substance. Lo and behold, resveratrol made the muscle fibers grow longer and thicker.
The scientists explained that resveratrol induces young muscle cells (myoblasts) to differentiate, along with controlling regulatory factors and the synthesis of muscle-specific proteins. Resveratrol ends up signaling IGF-1 through a couple of regulating enzymes, which activates proteins and "induces hypertrophic morphological changes."
They concluded that their data "demonstrate that resveratrol could control proliferation, start the myogenesis process and induce hypertrophy. Our in vitro studies may constitute novel proof of principle to potential applications of the compound to prevent or reverse muscle impairment by stimulating myogenesis, and emphasize a new possible use of resveratrol to enhance muscle performance."
Marketers have long had a problem with resveratrol because it has more than one beneficial effect; it does too many things and people get confused and even disinterested. It's easier to promote and sell something that has one health benefit, like burning fat, blocking estrogen, increasing testosterone, or making joints healthier.
But for those that are more supplement savvy and who don't need to be "sold" on a supplement, they're happy to see that resveratrol (Rez-V™) is a multi-talented player. The finding that it increases muscle only clarifies its value as a supplement rather than muddles it.
- Montesano A et al. Resveratrol promotes myogenesis and hypertrophy in murine myoblasts. J Transl Med. 2013 Dec 13;11:310.