We tested whether chronic supplementation with resveratrol (a phytoestrogen) could improve cerebrovascular function, cognition and mood in post-menopausal women. Eighty post-menopausal women aged 45-85 years were randomised to take trans-resveratrol or placebo for 14 weeks and the effects on cognitive performance, cerebral blood flow velocity and pulsatility index (a measure of arterial stiffness) in the middle cerebral artery (using transcranial Doppler ultrasound), and cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) to both cognitive testing and hypercapnia were assessed. Mood questionnaires were also administered. Compared to placebo, resveratrol elicited 17% increases in CVR to both hypercapnic (p = 0.010) and cognitive stimuli (p = 0.002). Significant improvements were observed in the performance of cognitive tasks in the domain of verbal memory (p = 0.041) and in overall cognitive performance (p = 0.020), which correlated with the increase in CVR (r = 0.327; p = 0.048). Mood tended to improve in multiple measures, although not significantly. These results indicate that regular consumption of a modest dose of resveratrol can enhance both cerebrovascular function and cognition in post-menopausal women, potentially reducing their heightened risk of accelerated cognitive decline and offering a promising therapeutic treatment for menopause-related cognitive decline.
Keywords: cerebrovascular function; cognitive decline; menopause; resveratrol.