Monday, August 18, 2008

Mindblog does an experiment with resveratrol, the anti-aging compound.

I have done a number of posts on resveratrol (to have a look at them, enter 'resveratrol' in the search box in the left column). This compound appears to mimic the effects of caloric restriction in some animals, and in some cases extends lifespans. It has effects on enzyme profiles that resemble those caused by exercise. With some hesitation, I decided to do a self-experiment, taking the compound for several weeks to see if I noted any steady state changes in physiology, energy, temperament, etc. and then stopping the supplement to observe whether any changes I noted went away. (Goggling away on the web, you find a large number of sites, having almost the aura of cults, claiming wondrous properties of this new magic molecule.)

If you don't feel like reading through the whole account below, the bottom line is that after noting some positive, but transient, positive changes in energy and temperament, the appearance of arthritic symptoms led me to terminate the self-experiment. The arthritic symptoms then disappeared. (Added note, in response to immediate input from a reader of this post: Resveratrol is an anti-TNF (tumor necrosis factor) agent and in some instances this may trigger autoimmune symptoms.)

The hesitation to start this experiment derived from my experience when I tried this in 2004. Then, as now, I used resveratrol obtained from Now Foods, pills containing 400 mg of a root extract that claims to contain 200 mg resveratrol. After a few weeks I noted that my hands were becoming stiff, finger joints were starting to 'click' , i.e. arthritic symptoms. I freaked out, stopped the resveratrol, and started taking glucose amine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, Calcium, Magnesium. The arthritis went away over the next week or two, but of course I didn't know whether to attribute that to stopping the resveratrol, starting the latter supplements, or placebo effect.

So, this time I started 200 mg with breakfast, tried to stay very flat and objective in my observations, especially attentive to any negative effects. (I tried in vain to find in the literature, on the web, any reported negative side effects reported by people taking resveratrol.) On day 11, I started another 200 mg with dinner.

On day 13, I decided to write down a number of effects, fairly subtle, but quite clear. (I had been looking mainly for negative symptoms, and so required the following observations to be clear and sustained, noticed as facts, not goals, with changes clearly different from the previous period in a sustained way. My food intake and level of formal exercise (gym) activity had not changed significantly.)

-more constant energy in just moving through a day, from one activity to another… (While running at gym, I didn't begin to slow down after the first mile).
-an absence of mildly negative, curmudgeonly, temperament, the temperament being now more flat to positive.
-more sexual energy (I check the web: resveratrol inhibitis the esterase that breaks down testosterone)
-a bit more spontaneous emotional reactivity, to memories, things in the environment,
-the daily weight range (lowest on waking in the a.m. then plus a few pounds by gym weighing) may have shifted down 1-2 pounds

By day 15 I'm deciding I don’t think the weight range has changed significantly. Further, over a period of just a few days, everything seems to return to where it was, as if physiological and temperamental homeostatic mechanisms had noted a 'perturbation' and so were returning the body to its normal set-points. On day 16 I sign off on thinking that the positive effects reported above are long term. I also realize that hand stiffness has been increasing over the past few days, finger joints have started clicking. (These observations seem to be contrary to several reports that resveratrol inhibits enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) involved in inflammatory arthritic responses.)

I continue to take the 400 mg of daily resveratrol for two more days, note increasing arthritic symptoms, and discontinue on day. 19. Over the next week, the stiffness and clicking joints disappear, and hand movements become supple again.

So, that is it. Deric's experiment was finished. Don't think I'm going to go there again.


  1. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Yep. I quit resveratrol after Achilles tendonitis set in and a raging case of plantar fasciitis returned after years of dormancy. I noted the hand-joint popping as well.

  2. Anonymous5:10 PM

    I have had swelling in my middle finger that hasn't gone away in 5 months, and never had anything like it before trying resveratrol 300 mg. I hate to say it, but think resveratrol is less than benign.

  3. I was taking resveratrol from a well known company and found the same thing. I stopped taking it a month ago, but my feet are still killing me when I wake in the morning. I am 39 year old women in great condition and now I can not run etc. If anyone has a rememdy for this I would sure love to hear it!

  4. Anonymous7:04 AM

    I saw that original poster seemed to toake the 50% Resveratrol. And there seem to be a lot of people with arthritc symptoms.

    Has anyone tried the 98 or 99% transres?
    I am getting some in the next month or so and I will come back and posts if I get the arthritic symptoms.

  5. Anonymous4:16 PM

    It was likely an autoimmune response -- a developed allergy. This is not that uncommon with herbal supplements. In Chinese medicine, it is well-known and checked for by practitioners. Joint pain and muscle ache is one of the most common symptoms, just like when influenza starts and a person starts to get faint joint and muscle pain. It's the immune system activating.

    1. It was the anti-estrogenic properties of TR. His estrogen dropped too low and should lower the dose.

  6. Wow, I thought that my medical event last year was possible related to taking Reservatrol but I wasn't too sure.

    I wrote about my experience on my blog here.

    Thanks for all these comments and sharing. I guess it was the culprit!


  7. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Resveratrol may have eventually killed me! (Hopefully my declining blood counts will stop).

    It has been 6 weeks since I started a daily regime of about 400-500 mg of Resveratrol.

    I have an autoimmune disorder and I noticed an immediate reduction in joint swelling, so thought this was a great supplement.

    BUT, I developed severe arthritic changes in one foot: a total obliteration of a major joint, that previously had been symptom-free.

    I also developed a severe reduction in some of my blood counts: well below normal. My white count dropped 30% in 3 weeks, to less than half of what is considered to be "low" normal.

    When telling a friend about this, she suggested that I take double the "normal" dose. (I was only taking half or one third of the "recommended daily dose", thankfully.) I thought that her suggestion might not be a good idea, since this was such a concentrated formulation to begin with. I suddenly realized that Resveratrol could be the cause of my significant decline in health.

    I have ceased taking this supplement and pray that my body can turn off this horrible immune system attack on itself!

    Anyone who has an autoimmune disease, Please Beware of Resveratrol!

  8. Anonymous7:59 AM

    I've been taking 300-600mg everyday for 3 months. I noticed a few positives, but I had 2 negatives that made me stop: Sleep and tendanitis, especially in the achillies tendon. As for sleep, it was not good. I'd wake up several times a night, maybe getting 6 hours total. I stumbled across this site a week ago and did some other research that found that my issues weren't that uncommon. I stopped 4 days ago and my sleep has been very good the past 2 nights and my tendonitis is much improved.

  9. Geoff1:34 PM

    I am a very active 36 year old male and I have been taking 100mg/day of resveratrol for about 4 months. I have recently developed pain in my hip joint and surrounding tendons that I believe is related to resveratrol. I have discontinued use and would discourage others from taking it.

  10. Anonymous7:53 AM

    took one week+ of a high quality organic version purchased from GMC 250mg. was planning to take it for at least a month to decide if i wanted to continue. (42 and healthy) noticed a sudden, strange and constant pain in my left hip into the second week. that was so weird and sudden for me that i decided the resveratrol was likely the culprit so i quit taking it about 3 days ago but still have the pain. possibly unrelated, but i doubt it.

  11. Anonymous9:17 AM

    I took 250mg of Botiva Trans-Resveratrol tablets for several months. I did not associate the subsequent burning pain around the hip area with the supplement. I then ran out of the resveratrol tablets and noticed that the hip pain ( for which I had received numerous acupuncture and chiropractic treatments) and a concommitant pain in the finger joints had subsided. I do not know if the two are related, however, I now recall that I had the same hip pain a year previous when I was taking the resveratrol supplements. That pain also eventually subsided when I ran out of supplement. In looking back I realize that it coincided with discontinuation of the resveratrol. I am now thinking that the pain in the hip may have been the result of supplementation with resveratrol. I think more studies are needed before I continue this product.

  12. Anonymous2:08 PM

    I'm VERY happy that I found this site, because I have been experiencing tendon stiffness and tenderness on the bottoms of my feet, and my heels have been rather tender. This seems to be at its worst when I get up in the morning. There may be a medical name for this, but I just don't know what it is. I've been taking resveratrol for about six months, but this will end TODAY thanks to everyone else's posts. THANK YOU ALL!!!! I will post an update after a few weeks of discontinuing resveratrol.

  13. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Two weeks off 100mg Resveratrol daily and my joints feel much better. Don't think I'll restart that again. I'm 35 and was beginning to walk and feel like an old arthritic man. Feet, hips, hands all began to hurt to the point life was becoming quite difficult. Don't believe the Resveratrol hype!!!

  14. Anonymous2:32 AM

    I agree and want to share it in a broader general interest that resveratrol is nothing but a brain-child of dirty, ethic-less business community to create hype, market it, sell it and earn billions of dollars by risking innocent people at stake. This is in line of what most of the corporate do in order to do their ethic-less and anti-human business.

    Why do I say this:
    I,myself, tried the resveratrol some 20 - 30 times by stopping and restarting it. Every time the result was 100% consistent i.e. serious stiffness and joint pain in neck and lower back starts with start of taking 250 mg high quality resveratrol and the stiffness and pain in joint stops after stopping the resveratrol. This is obvious that we cannot have a coincidence for around 30 times. Therefore, this supplement is hazardous aiming to cripple the healthy people with joint damage.

    Be careful

  15. Anonymous5:55 PM

    In my extensive research, I have found that resveratrol is an aromatase inhibitor, which has been hypothesized to be the cause of joint and tendon pains many people experience. It also can be the cause for strength and muscle gains, experienced by many who can easily track these changes through weight lifting. Other people may not notice the increase in strength and muscle since this may be too subtle, but increased energy would be more obvious.

    Increased sun exposure, or intake of vitamin D3 supplements can reduce or eliminate joint and muscle pain associated with aromatase inhibitors. There are many misconceptions about the sun, and most people are vitamin D3 deficient, especially those living at high latitudes. Sunscreen blocks your body's ability to get vitamin D from the sun. The most damaging UV rays are around the times of 10am-2pm. Times closer to sunrise and sunset ought to be taken advantage of for sun exposure, since we need healthy doses of vitamin D! The supplement CoQ10 may also help to alleviate joint and muscle pain.

    1. I take vitamin D3 and CO-Q10, and the pain in the bottom of my right foot was still extreme. It made me feel like I was 90 years old it was hardly able to walk. I am on testosterone replacement therapy, and I get blood work done often. It does make me wonder if this plummeted my estradiol too far down. I take half a pill of Arimidex, twice a week to keep my estradiol around 30 ng/ml. All natural anti-romase supplements have been pretty unimpressive, but maybe resveratrol is the first effective one. When I first started my TRT, I tried taking a full pill twice a week and ended up plunging my estradiol into the red zone. My foot felt exactly like it does on this resveratrol. I would like to find some research to find out how far down it reduces estradiol and how long it will suppress it. Maybe I can replace my Arimidex with Resveratrol some day soon.

  16. Anonymous5:06 PM

    I take about 1000 mg of resveratrol daily and have had no adverse effect. I have none of the symptoms the people above described. Resveratrol is naturally found in grapes blueberries peanuts and other foods known to be good for you. If resveratrol is so harmful why do so many fruits and vegetables known to be good for you contain it? I also believe resveratrol raises testosterone as I no longer have impotence. I wake up every morning with "morning wood" just like I did back in highschool.

  17. Aside from the antioxidant benefits of resveratrol, it also has anti-cancer properties. Research has shown that resveratrol induces the deaths of tumor and cancer cells, and inhibits tumor growth in the development of colon cancer by blocking the building enzyme Cox-2.

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  18. Resveratrol in red wine can prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots. If you drink moderate amounts of alcohol you may have a lower risk of heart disease.

  19. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Resveratrol has been used very successfully in he treatment of Lyme disease. It is anti-bacterial, is an immune modulator, and kills cancer cells. I, personally, have taken it with great success. It also is highly affective against strains of Bartonella, which is a coinfection of Lyme and is tick borne. The person who said they had pain on the bottom of their soles may have been killing Bartonella infection in fact. Sole pain is a classic symptom. I don't claim to know all the science behind the herb and whether it can trigger auto-immunity, but it has it benefits and saved my life. My understanding, from an herbalogist, who makes no money selling the herb, is that it is an immune modulator and an excellent antibacterial agent.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Fascinating post. Actually, My mom was using Resveratrol back then. But she decided to quit after few weeks 'cos she always felt numbness in both hands and feet. bladder cancer symptom

  22. Anonymous4:35 PM

    For everyone who got joint pain could this have been caused by resveratrol acting as an estrogen blocker. Low estrogen is linked to the joint pain you describe.

  23. Anonymous3:32 PM

    hmmm.. judging by the comments here, resveratrol will either kill you or save your life. Both positive and negative reviews seem to be grouped into clusters. a bit suspicious. I can only judge by my own experience - I supplemented w/resveratrol on two different occasions and both times, I had trouble sleeping, so much so that the first time I had to stop. Within a few days, my sleeping was back to normal. The 2nd time(currently) I am having the same problem with waking up several times during the night and I've only been on it for about a week now. I'm also experiencing some mood changes and some minor, random body aches. My current dosage is 75mg. i think I'm done with resveratrol - could be that the "recommended" dosage(100's of mgs) is just an unnaturally high amount to be taking. How much resveratrol is in an a glass of wine or a bunch of grapes, anyways?

  24. I looked up the amount in wine once. The amount in a glass of wine is very small, I think way less than 75 mg. You would have to drink several gallons of wine to get the dosages people are taking.

  25. I was taking resveratrol a while back and really liked it. I never had any of the symptoms and stopped only because it was so darned expensive. I was taking 500mg twice a day and went down to once a day because I was afraid of possible side effects. Anyway, I just started back again today as a matter of fact and would you believe that within minutes of taking the 250mg of organic (mind you) resveratrol I started getting muscle pains ha,ha,ha,ha! I can't do anything but laugh. So what I'm thinking of doing is taking it once every other day and see how that goes. It may be that the resveratrol I'm taking now may be more concentrated than the one I was taking before. I'll keep you all posted. I'm a 37 year old female and very physically active by the way. Hope everyone is well.

  26. I have taken resveratrol for 3 years and at first noticed some back pain in the morning. After a month or two the stiffness subsided and I felt great. I think people should work through the pain to get to the long term benefits.

  27. Anonymous12:49 AM

    The source for most resveratrol supplements are not grapes but Japanese Knotweed, which as I understand translates in Japanese to "takes away pain". Pain reduction has been my own experience. I would suspect allergy or autoimmune illness in those who reacted adversely. Many antioxidants have the effect of boosting the immune system, which in those with underlying autoimmune illness could actually trigger added symptoms or flares.

  28. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Someone above said resveratrol is an aromatase inhibitor. I took an aromatase inhibitor for 5 yrs following a bout with breast cancer. The drug caused significant joint and muscle pain! I actually quit it about 6 mos early because I was tired f hurting so much.

  29. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Resveratrol taken initially for about a year was great- I had more energy and was able to breath better. However, over time, I developed joint stiffness and pain. Upon ceasing resveratrol, these symptoms subsided after a number of days/weeks. Not believing the association, I went back on resveratrol on two other ocassions after a long hiatus off resveratrol, and the jont pain and stiffness returned over a period of several days/weeks. I do believe as others have noted, resvertrol can indeed cause joint stiffness and pain. Whether you get them or not, probably depends on your genetic make up. If you get these symptoms, my advice is to get off of it immediately. It is NOT a matter of working through the pains/symptoms as suggsted by one posted comment. I have done this now three times at least with the same outcome. I am getting off resveratrol for good.

  30. Anonymous1:23 PM

    "one person does not a study make". also, the material source for your resveratrol may be a factor. why don't you try resveratrol sourced ONLY from pure wine extracts and repeat your experiment?

  31. Anonymous12:47 AM

    I too had joint and back pain. The same pain I had with statins and red yeast rice. I was sent to a rheumatologist who thought I might have Lupus but when I quit taking these, my inflammatory markers dropped and so did my pain. These meds/ supplements should be taken seriously.

  32. I have taken resveratrol on and off for 7 years. I stopped for 3 years, b/c I did not have any reaction.
    So i thought the supplement was just hype, I just started again with the advice from a MD. He said take on an empty stomach in the AM. So i bought it from my Bulk source (I guess i can not tell who) I have been taken 250mg each morning for 2 weeks and have bad none of the symptoms i have read about. I am 65 and i work out intensely get cut and then lay off for 6-8 months. I watch the changes in my body every day. I only got a slight headache after taking it in the AM. My Doctor said that it will help with my high cholesterol . I have a BP of 109/68 and no sign of Diabetes. I am saying that - so far this has not had any of the effects the younger people have had. But now I am getting gun shy regarding this. Has any noe had long term effects?

  33. A few things to note: I have been considering resveritrol use and have done quite a bit of reading up. There are a few theories on the cause of joint pain. First of course is that it is the resveritrol itself causing the problem. Either by causing autoimmune effect or by some chemical mechanism. Second is that it seems more common in the 50% pure extract. Most resveratrol extracts are made from Japanese knotweed which also has high concentration of Emodin. Emodin itself has many health benefits but is molecularly similar to active ingredients in the drug Ciprofloxacin / Cipro which is known to have severe negative effects on tendons and ligaments. For this reason many suggest the 99% pure extract. Lastly, to isolate the resveritrol found in knotweed, the extract is "washed" meaning that any number of other chemicals are used to remove impurities. However, it could be that these chemicals remain to some degree and may be the culprit.

  34. I developed burning, red, prickly/tingly, painful palms of hands and soles of feet. In the mornings it was near impossible to walk on my feet. I haven't taken the Collagen Booster that contains Dermaval (Resveratrol ) in a few days and I have been 99% better for 2 days now. After reading reactions on this site, I believe that is what suddenly caused my problems 2 weeks ago. But I think I took the pills for 2-3 weeks before developing symptoms. I also have Endometriosis and was not aware that Resveratrol is contraindicated. Sigh, I feel stupid and now have to tell my family this was self-induced. Thankful though it is probably not Erythromelalgia (although sensitive finger pads started before taking Resveratrol). Thanks for the posts everyone.

  35. My ankles and feet hurt so badly it is difficult for me to describe the pain. I've been taking resveratrol for a few months now, with worsening foot pain and now today, Christmas Day, severe ankle pain, too. I looked up resveratrol on Google and lo and behold; it is the exact cause of my severe pain. Last night I woke up from the pain numerous times. No more resveratrol supplements for me! I hope to God that I can somehow regain normalcy in my ankles and feet. I don't care to take any more of these insane supplements; because, when I stopped to think about it, resveratrol is NEVER found in nature. Grape skins, etc YES! But where, oh where, in nature, do I see a resveratrol bush? A resveratrol tree? NOWHERE, that's where. Because resveratrol is found in such small amounts as part of a part of something else, like grapes, or peanuts. now that I think about it, it only makes sense that when some person concentrates all that resveratrol into one single megadose, it is bound to create severe problems. Resveratrol was never meant to be taken in thousands of times the concentration found in Nature. I feel like a total fool for falling for this trick by the supplements industry.

    This is more like a prescription drug than a supplement. But then, I've noticed that pretty much any supplements I've taken have had these same kinds of issues.

  36. I got Resveratrol for my husband and he took it for several weeks, no pain or trouble til I read it might interfere with bp meds. I then started it and two or threes weeks I suddenly had hip pain, knee pain, and really, really bad foot pain even numb. The last one I took was three days ago,still hurting. I only hope this passes. Lots of people over the years on Peoples Pharmacy have told similar tales. I am grateful to find out about the bad side effects even if it's after the fact. Btw, was taking the Vitacost 50% 100mg from 200mg of the Japanese Knotweed. Thanks to Doug for the info he posted. Unfortunately, we often don't find out about side effects until we have them.

  37. Anonymous6:51 PM

    I started taking resveratrol for a condition I’ve had for years. After a few weeks, I noticed my joints, tendons and muscles always felt week. I ignored this side effect and continued taking them. After a few months, I started experiencing severe pain all over and my blood pressure was out of control even with medication.
    About 8 weeks ago, I discontinued resveratrol and the aches, pains and weakness have all but disappeared. For a long time, I thought I had a horrible disease that was killing me slowly even though my blood tests were negative for any ailments.
    After reading all the reviews, I’m happy to put my theory to rest and that all my symptoms were a side effect of resveratrol. Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.

  38. I was taking resveratrol for three days when I started having severe pain, tingling and neuropathy symptoms in my right foot. Since these are exactly what I experienced a couple decades ago with a statin, I moved quickly to quit taking the resveratrol and started searching more for side effects, finding this blog post (thanks). Now I'm on the 2nd no-resveratrol day and noticing some improvement in the foot pain and discomfort. I may try it again at a lower dose if I recover in a couple weeks. Otherwise I'll chalk this up as a failure.

  39. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Near total rupture of gastrocnemius on reservatrol 1 week. Now out on Workman's comp. Was sensitive to quinalones as a child hamstring in high school, other side again in college. Seems like I'm always put on zithromax, ceftin, or doxycycline or. Antibiotics. biaxin and chloroquine are on my list of allergies since i was a kid.