Resveratrol and resistance: Taiwan study suggests combination to improve physical health and performance

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

The study examined the effectiveness of a combinational, synergistic approach involving both resveratrol supplementation and regular exercise. ©Getty Images
The study examined the effectiveness of a combinational, synergistic approach involving both resveratrol supplementation and regular exercise. ©Getty Images

Related tags Resveratrol Sports nutrition Taiwan

Resveratrol supplementation combined with resistance exercise can improve overall physical health and sports performance, according to researchers in Taiwan.

There have been a number of comprehensive studies conducted on resveratrol, whose results highlight its multiple bioactivities and support its use in dietary supplementation.

At the same time, regular exercise, such as aerobic and resistance exercise and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), have been reported to have a range of beneficial physiological outcomes.

However, few studies have examined how effective a combinational, synergistic approach involving both resveratrol supplementation and regular exercise might be.

Resistance of rodents

Researchers at Taipei Medical University, the National Taiwan Sport University, and the National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences therefore conducted a study to examine the effect of such an approach on exercise performance and physiological adaption.

They familiarised 40 six-week old male mice with ladder equipment for the weight-loading ladder climbing animal platform, and acclimatised them to their environment and diet for the study over the course of a week, prior to training protocol.

All the mice were placed on a standard laboratory diet and given distilled water during the experiment, and were then divided randomly into four groups: two sedentary and two trained.

One of the sedentary groups and one of the trained groups was vehicle-treated, while the remaining sedentary and trained groups were orally supplemented with resveratrol (25mg/kg of body weight); this lasted for four consecutive weeks.

As part of the anaerobic exercise training and capacity test, the trained groups were subjected to resistance training protocol three days a week, with three sets of climbing procedures and four repetitions per set daily; two minutes' rest was given in between sets.

The ladder was placed into water that was 5cm deep, in order to provide negative stimulation to increase climbing motivation.

The researchers based their performance evaluation on the mice's climbing time, with the anaerobic portion of the evaluation based on the number of climbs until exhaustion.

The aerobic exercise endurance performance test involved a motor-driven treadmill designed for rodents. An electric shock grid was also used to heighten test motivation.

The mice initially ran on the treadmill at 10m/minute for five minutes a day for a week before exhaustive exercise. This was increased to 15m/minute for two minutes, after which the speed was increased be 3m/minute every subsequent two minutes.

This continued until the mice reached exhaustion, which was defined as the point at which they maintained continuous contact with the shock grid for at least five seconds.

Polyphenol-fuelled performance

The researchers later evaluated the mice's exercise capacities — including grip strength, and aerobic and anaerobic performance — and their physiological adaptions assessed with fatigue-linked indexes implemented immediately after the exercise intervention.

The mice's muscular characteristics, glycogen levels, body composition, and biochemistry were also measured.

The researchers observed that the mice in both trained groups had increased grip strength when compared to the sedentary groups, thanks to their climb training.

In the resveratrol-supplemented trained group, this increase was even more pronounced than in the vehicle-treated trained group.

Additionally, the climb training and resveratrol supplementation markedly improved the trained mice's time performance, though there was no significant difference from the interaction effect between the resveratrol-supplemented trained and sedentary groups.

The exhaustion times for the resveratrol-supplemented trained group were also significantly longer than those for the supplemented sedentary group.

In terms of aerobic endurance capacity, both the supplemented groups fared considerably better than both the vehicle-treated groups, though the supplemented trained group "did not show synergistic effects due to the lack of a significant interaction effect"​.

Study on synergy

The researchers had observed synergistic effects on the mice's anaerobic capacities, and hypothesised that the training or resveratrol supplementation may have "contributed significantly to elevating aerobic capacity, tissue glycogen, and muscle hypertrophy"​.

They added that a combination of resistance exercise and resveratrol supplementation could be used in the general human population to achieve improved physiological benefits and better overall health, as well as to encourage participation in regular exercise.

They concluded: "Exercise duration and loading intensity may be elevated further for better physiological adaptions. Therefore, there may be value in further studying the potential molecular mechanisms that underlie these combinational effects.

"In terms of practical applications, people have limited time for exercise. Therefore, effective and efficient methods of exercise are particularly appropriate for promoting public fitness and health.

"This study supports the hypothesis that resistance exercise in combination with resveratrol supplementation effectively induces muscular hypertrophy, physiological adaption, aerobic, and anaerobic performance."


Source: Nutrients

"The Synergistic Effects of Resveratrol combined with Resistant Training on Exercise Performance and Physiological Adaption"

Authors: Nai-Wen Kan, et al.

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