Resveratrol weight loss studies have long suggested that this natural phenol, commonly found in the skin of grapes and blueberries, can support weight loss efforts and control blood sugar.
A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that the power of resveratrol in enhancing weight loss and optimizing blood sugar may be associated with the phenol’s ability to activate brown fat.
Resveratrol Weight Loss via Brown Fat Production
Brown adipose tissue — or “brown fat” — becomes visible with exposure to cold temperatures. This brown fat, which is often found in the upper chest and neck, burns calories from regular fat at an increased rate when the body is exposed to cold temperatures. In turn, this may potentially lead to weight loss.
Nutrition researchers from China recently tested the effect of resveratrol on brown fat by feeding a resveratrol-rich diet to mice for 10 weeks. Body weight, adipose tissue accumulation, bile acid profiles, and markers of bird acid metabolism were collected following the 10-week period. Additionally, the researchers tested oral glucose tolerance, immunohistochemistry, and gut microbiota of this animal model.
Treatment with resveratrol resulted in improved blood sugar control. This was associated with enhanced brown adipose tissue activity and white adipose tissue browning, suggesting that resveratrol may lead to more brown fat production and increased weight loss.
The enhancement of brown adipose activity and white adipose browning by resveratrol was largely mediated by regulating bile acid metabolism through gut microbiota remodeling. Antibiotic treatment virtually depleted gut microbiota and eliminated the blood glucose benefits of resveratrol.
As with any resveratrol weight loss study, this study has its limitations. First, the researchers tested the effects of resveratrol in mice instead of humans. Second, the treatment period of 10 weeks was relatively short to identify long-term beneficial effects of resveratrol supplementation in terms of weight loss and blood glucose control.
Hui S, Liu Y, Huang L, et al. Resveratrol enhances brown adipose tissue activity and white adipose tissue browning in part by regulating bile acid metabolism via gut microbiota remodeling. Int J Obes (Lond). 2020 Mar 17.