Resveratrol is a natural and safe compound found in certain plants, has antioxidant properties and is known to improve cardiovascular health. It is found in red wine, red grape skins and seeds, peanuts and other foods.
A new medicine based on resveratrol, a ‘resveratrol derivative compound 1’ (C1), was effective in reducing the duration of A-Fib episodes in animal studies.
Dr. Peter Light of the University of Alberto, Edmonton, Canada published this study in the British Journal of Pharmacology. (This resveratrol research was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and TEC Edmonton, with additional support from the Center for Drug Research and Development.)
How Does Resveratrol Work?
‘Resveratrol derivative C1’ seems to work by targeting multiple pathways involved in A-Fib, not just one or two as is the case with many current A-Fib drugs. These pathways include several ion channels as well as “pathways that cause adverse restructuring of the atria that may lead to A-Fib.”
Dr. Light thinks that the first in-human trials of ‘resveratrol C1’ may start in two-to-five years.
It’s highly unlikely that the ‘resveratrol derivative C1’ will be significantly better than natural resveratrol.
What This Means to A-Fib Patients
What’s important in this animal study is that a type of resveratrol reduced the duration of A-Fib episodes.
The beneficial effects of Resveratrol on cardiovascular health is well-documented. But, its usefulness for A-Fib patients requires more research. It’s possible Resveratrol could work as a ‘pill-in-the-pocket’ to reduce the duration or stop A-Fib episodes without the need for antiarrhythmic drugs.
Sources of Resveratrol
You don’t have to wait for Dr. Light’s trials to benefit from Resveratrol. (It’s highly unlikely that the ‘resveratrol derivative C1’ will be significantly better than natural resveratrol.) Resveratrol occurs naturally in red wine, red grape skins and seeds, grape juice, peanuts, mulberries, and some Chinese herbs. Resveratrol supplements are also available.
Caution: Resveratrol supplements could interact with medicines like blood thinners, blood pressure drugs, NSAID painkillers, and supplements like St. John’s wort, garlic, and ginkgo.
Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider before adding Resveratrol supplements to your diet.
To learn more about Resveratrol as a supplement, go the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/Integrative Medicine database, About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products, Resveratrol.
NOTE: In the US, substances found in nature like resveratrol cannot usually be patented by pharmaceutical companies and thus be under the control of the FDA. (This isn’t the case in other countries where natural substances are often regulated like drugs and consequently are often difficult to obtain.)
However, pharmaceutical companies can sometimes get around this restriction by making a change in the structure of a natural substance. Now it can be patented because it is no longer ‘natural’. Then it’s up to pharmaceutical reps to convince doctors to prescribe the patented version rather than the natural (and cheaper) substance.