The cognitive and cerebral blood flow effects of the polyphenol resveratrol in healthy, young humans

Wightman, Emma (2013) The cognitive and cerebral blood flow effects of the polyphenol resveratrol in healthy, young humans. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

PDF (PhD thesis)
wightman.emma_phd.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (3MB) | Preview


The polyphenol trans-resveratrol interacts with a number of mechanisms relevant to brain function and has demonstrated preserved and enhanced cognitive function in animal models as a result. Two of these mechanisms also suggest that resveratrol may be capable of acute cognitive enhancement: firstly via nitric oxide (NO)-mediated vasodilation leading to increased cerebral blood flow (CBF) and, in turn, increased neural access to the metabolic substrates oxygen and glucose; and secondly via enhanced mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation which would be expected to increase the utilization of this enhanced provision of neural fuel.

To date, research has yet to investigate the potentially CBF and cognitive enhancing effects of resveratrol in humans. This thesis aimed to redress this paucity and reports the findings from five placebo-controlled, double-blind, multiple-dose, acute and chronic resveratrol supplementation studies; all conducted in young, healthy human volunteers. Throughout this programme of studies the novel neuroimaging technique near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been utilized to monitor the effects of resveratrol on CBF in the prefrontal cortex. The cognitively demanding tasks utilized to assess cognitive function are all predominantly sub-served by this region of the brain.

The consistent finding emerging from this thesis is that, acutely, resveratrol is a potent enhancer of the natural demand-driven increase in CBF and, in support of the hypothesis, also evinces significant enhancement of oxygen utilization. The lack of strong, replicable cognitive effects of resveratrol in this thesis however, suggests that resveratrol is not able to translate this increased access and utilization of metabolic substrates into improved cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: near-infrared spectroscopy, nitric oxide, piperine, resveratrol bioavailability
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 08:29
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 15:21

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics