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Red Wine Compound Increases Spinal Bone Density

Update Date: Oct 16, 2014 01:49 PM EDT

A natural compound found in red wine and grapes, resveratrol, can boost spinal bone density in men with metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that are tied to increasing risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. According to the researchers, resveratrol could play a factor in the development of future osteoarthritis treatment.

"Our study is the first to reveal resveratrol's potential as an anti-osteoporosis drug in humans," said one of the study's authors, Marie Juul Ørnstrup, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark. "Our findings suggest the compound stimulates bone-forming cells within the body."

For this study, the researchers recruited 66 male participants with metabolic syndrome who were divided into three groups. In the first group, the men took a 500-milligram dose of resveratrol two times a day and in the second group, the men took a lower dose of 75 milligram. In the last group, the men received a placebo pill that was also taken twice a day. The researchers tracked bone mineral density, bone formation and resorption.

The researchers found that men who took the highest dose of resveratrol had a 2.6 percent increase in their lumber spine volumetric bone density in comparison to men who took the placebo. This group of men also experienced a 16 percent increase in bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP), which is a marker of bone formation.

"In just four months on high-dose resveratrol, we saw significant improvements in bone mineral density at the spine and elevated levels of the bone formation marker BAP," Ørnstrup said according to the press release. "These are encouraging results. Additional research is needed to assess whether these bone protective effects occur in populations at risk of osteoporosis during the course of long-term treatment."

The study, "Resveratrol Increases Bone Mineral Density and Bone Alkaline Phosphatase in Obese Men: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial," was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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