You’ve no doubt heard about the many natural health benefits of the resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant phenol found in red wine and grape juice. But could it be a new natural health solution for Alzheimer’s-related dementia? Researchers from more than two dozen U.S. academic institutions plan to find out! A phase II clinical trial will investigate the effects of resveratrol on people with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. At the time of this writing, researchers are recruiting volunteers. R. Scott Turner, M.D., Ph.D., director of Georgetown University Medical Center’s Memory Disorders Program, is the lead investigator for the national study.

Early research studies suggest that resveratrol may prevent diabetes, act as a natural cancer fighter, ward off cardiovascular disease, and prevent memory loss, but there has been no large definitive study of its effects in humans.

According to the researchers, past resveratrol studies showing any health benefits have been conducted in animal models, such as mice, and with doses that far exceed intake from sipping wine or nibbling on chocolate. With this clinical trial, they will determine if daily doses of pure resveratrol can delay or alter memory deterioration and daily functioning in people with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s.

For this study, they will also test whether resveratrol improves glucose and insulin metabolism in older individuals, although those who already have diabetes will not be included in this study.

The study will apply the “Gold Standard” for conduction clinical studies, double-blind, placebo controlled. Half of the participants will receive a placebo (a sugar pill made to look like the resveratrol pill) to allow researchers to more objectively test the benefits of resveratrol. Neither the patient nor the clinical staff will know if the study participant is receiving the placebo or resveratrol until the end of the study.

The research is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), through a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The lead rearchers report no personal financial interests related to the study.