Endometriosis is a condition in which the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside it instead. This happens most often in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue around the uterus and ovaries.
Resveratrol, a natural agent isolated from the fruits and roots of many plants, has proven to be a powerful antioxidant that can slow down or even prevent the progression of a considerable range of age-related illnesses.
In terms of its effects on endometriosis, resveratrol has been shown to increase antioxidant capacity and decrease lipid peroxidation in rats with the condition.
Another study found that it also inhibited the development of experimental endometriosis by killing more cells and reducing endometrial cell proliferation in mice with endometriosis.
Writing in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, researchers in Iran stated: "In animal models of endometriosis, resveratrol supplementation has displayed beneficial results, as it decreased the number and volume of endometrial implants, suppressed proliferation, vascularisation, inflammation (and) cell survival, and increased apoptosis.
"On the other hand, resveratrol treatment in in-vitro studies reduced (the) invasiveness of endometriotic stromal cells and suppressed their inflammatory responses."
It has also been shown to have efficacy in multiple animal models of chronic inflammatory diseases, including hepatitis, esophagitis, colitis and pancreatitis, targeting many of inflammation's "key players".
The appeal of naturally occurring substances such as resveratrol for treating endometriosis has grown in recent years, leading to the extensive investigation of resveratrol’s underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms, said the researchers.
The review concluded that, based on many clinical studies, resveratrol is considered pharmacologically safe.
"The protective effects of resveratrol against endometriosis are mediated through a network of several cell signaling pathways which, in turn, cause suppression of proliferation in endometriotic lesions, induction of apoptosis, reduction of inflammation (and) angiogenesis and oxidative stress, and inhibition of adhesion and invasion," noted the paper.
"However, future studies are required to be done to evaluate resveratrol effectiveness and its long-term safety in endometriotic patients, and to better understand its exact mechanisms of action in endometriosis."
Source: Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy
“Resveratrol and endometriosis: In vitro and animal studies and underlying mechanisms (Review)”
Authors: Roya Kolahdouz Mohammadi, Tahereh Arablou