Resveratrol and exercise combined to treat functional limitations in late life: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Exp Gerontol. 2021 Jan;143:111111. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2020.111111. Epub 2020 Oct 15.


Purpose: To evaluate the safety and feasibility of combining exercise (EX) and resveratrol to treat older adults with physical function limitations.

Methods: Three-arm, two-site pilot randomized, controlled trial (RCT) for community-dwelling adults (N = 60), 71.8 ± 6.3 years of age with functional limitations. Participants were randomized to receive either 12 weeks of (1) EX + placebo [EX0], (2) EX + 500 mg/day resveratrol [EX500], or (3) EX + 1000 mg/day resveratrol [EX1000]. EX consisted of two sessions a week for 12 weeks of center-based walking and whole-body resistance training. Safety was assessed through adverse events and feasibility through exercise session and supplement (placebo, or resveratrol) protocol adherence. Outcome measures included a battery of indices of physical function as well as skeletal muscle mitchondrial function. Data were adjusted for age and gender using the Intent-To-Treat approach.

Results: Adverse event frequency and type were similar between groups (n = 8 EX0, n = 12 EX500, and n = 7 EX1000). Overall, 85% of participants met the supplement adherence via pill counts while 82% met the exercise session adherence. Adjusted within group mean differences (95% confidence interval) from week 0 to 12 for gait speed ranged from -0.04 (EX0: -0.1, 0.03) m/s to 0.04 (EX1000: -0.02, 0.11) and the six-minute walk test mean differences were 9.45 (EX0: -9.02, 27.7), 22.9 (EX500: 4.18, 41.6), and 33.1 (EX1000: 13.8, 52.4) meters. Unadjusted mean differences for citrate synthase were -0.80 (EX0: -15.45, 13.84), -1.38 (EX500: -12.16, 9.39), and 7.75 (EX1000: -4.68, 20.18) mU/mg. COX activity mean within group changes ranged from -0.05 (EX0) to 0.06 (EX500) k/s/mg. Additional outcomes are detailed in the text.

Conclusion: The pilot RCT indicated that combined EX + resveratrol was safe and feasible for older adults with functional limitations and may improve skeletal muscle mitochondrial function and mobility-related indices of physical function. A larger trial appears warranted and is needed to formally test these hypotheses.

Keywords: Aging; Clinical trial; Exercise; Functional status; Mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Resveratrol
  • Walking*


  • Resveratrol