Can resveratrol help to maintain metabolic health?

Patrick Schrauwen*, Silvie Timmers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The number of people suffering from metabolic diseases is dramatically increasing worldwide. This stresses the need for new therapeutic strategies to combat this growing epidemic of metabolic diseases. A reduced mitochondrial function is one of the characteristics of metabolic diseases and therefore a target for intervention. Here we review the evidence that mitochondrial function may act as a target to treat and prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus, and, if so, whether these effects are due to reduction in skeletal muscle fat accumulation. We describe how exercise may affect these parameters and can be beneficial for type 2 diabetes. We next focus on alternative ways to improve mitochondrial function in a non-exercise manner. Thus, in 2003, resveratrol (3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene) was discovered to be a small molecule activator of sirtuin 1, an important molecular target regulating cellular energy metabolism and mitochondrial homoeostasis. Rodent studies have clearly demonstrated the potential of resveratrol to improve various metabolic health parameters. Here we review data in human subjects that is available on the effects of resveratrol on metabolism and mitochondrial function and discuss how resveratrol may serve as a new therapeutic strategy to preserve metabolic health. We also discuss whether the effects of resveratrol are similar to the effects of exercise training and therefore if resveratrol can be considered as an exercise mimetic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Human subjects
  • Metabolic health
  • Mitochondria
  • Resveratrol


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