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Resveratrol May Boost Mitochondrial Capacity During Workouts

Mitochondria are the “power fuels” of our cells and increased mitochondrial activity is indicative of increased and healthier muscle growth. A recent study suggests that taking a resveratrol and piperine supplement and performing low-intensity exercise may boost mitochondrial capacity in the forearm.

Participants in the study included 16 young adults who were given 500 mg of resveratrol plus 10 mg of piperine or a placebo daily for four weeks. They also took part in low-intensity exercise for three sessions per week. The participants were required to not be on any other medications aside from oral contraceptives and the researchers also excluded anyone who was taking vitamin supplements. People whose exercise regime included extensive use of the forearm muscle, such as rowing, rock climbing, or CrossFit were not included in the study.

In addition to their normal exercise routine, the participants were asked to do 30 minutes of supervised forearm wrist flexor exercises with their non-dominant arm three times weekly over the course of four weeks. The researchers chose the wrist flexor muscles because they are muscles that most people do not usually train. The contralateral arm was not trained and served as the control.

Near infrared spectroscopy was used for 45 minutes each session on week zero, two, three, and four in order to determine mitochondrial activity. The researchers found that that the reserveratrol plus piperine group had a 40% skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity increase from baseline, whereas the placebo group had a 10% increase from baseline. Neither group saw any change in the untrained arm.

Researchers from the University of Georgia conducted the study. It was published in the January 2016 issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Previous studies have shown resveratrol to be a powerful antioxidant with health benefits that include increasing energy levels, improving brain health, reducing the appearance of aging, improving metabolism, and improving liver function.

While it’s not yet possible to buy resveratrol at the potency used in this study, you can find it in lower levels in a variety of foods including red wine, grapes, grape seed extract, and peanuts. A glass of red wine a day can provide a good amount of resveratrol, but excess drinking may counter balance the positive health benefits. Another good way to get resveratrol is through a high quality supplement.

Piperine is the alkaloid found in black pepper. It is a bioenhancer that increases the bioavailability and bioefficiency of resverstrol. Piperine has also been linked to decreasing inflammation.

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