Objective: Pain is a common complaint among postmenopausal women. It has been postulated that vascular dysfunction caused by estrogen decline at menopause plays a key role in the initiation and progression of degradative joint disease, namely age-related osteoarthritis. We evaluated whether supplementation with resveratrol, a phytoestrogen, could improve aspects of well-being such as chronic pain that is commonly experienced by postmenopausal women.
Methods: A 14-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention with trans-resveratrol (75 mg, twice daily) was conducted in 80 healthy postmenopausal women. Aspects of well-being, including pain, menopausal symptoms, sleep quality, depressive symptoms, mood states, and quality of life were assessed by Short form-36 at baseline and at the end of treatment. Rating scales were averaged to provide a composite score representing overall well-being. Cerebral vasodilator responsiveness to hypercapnia was also assessed as a surrogate marker for cerebrovascular function.
Results: Compared with placebo treatment, there was a significant reduction in pain and an improvement in total well-being after resveratrol supplementation. Both benefits, including measures of quality of life, correlated with improvements in cerebrovascular function.
Conclusions: Our preliminary findings indicate potential for resveratrol treatment to reduce chronic pain in age-related osteoarthritis. Resveratrol consumption may also boost perceptions of well-being in postmenopausal women. Further investigation to elucidate underlying mechanisms is warranted.