A natural compound found in some fruits, nuts and red wine may enhance exercise training and performance, demonstrates newly published medical research from the University of Alberta.
Principal investigator Jason Dyck and his team found out in lab experiments that high doses of the natural compound resveratrol improved physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in lab models.
“We were excited when we saw that resveratrol showed results similar to what you would see from extensive endurance exercise training,” says Dyck, who works in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry as a researcher in the department of Pediatrics and the department of Pharmacology. “We immediately saw the potential for this and thought that we identified ‘improved exercise performance in a pill.’ ”
His team’s findings were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology in late May.
Dyck and his team will soon start starting testing resveratrol on diabetics with heart failure to see if the natural compound can improve heart function for this patient group. The 10-week study is expected to start within the next few months, with funding from the Alberta Diabetes Institute.
“I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do,” says Dyck. “It is very satisfying to progress from basic research in a lab to testing in people, in a short period of time.”
The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Dyck is an Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions senior scholar and the director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the U of A. He is also a member of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute and the Alberta Diabetes Institute.