June 3, 2014 — Dietary supplements that are healthy for adults may have harmful side effects on a developing baby when they are used during pregnancy. In recent years, resveratrol has gained a following as an anti-aging compound found in red wine. However, a new study has found evidence that it may cause pancreatic abnormalities in developing fetuses.
The study was published in the The FASEB Journal by researchers who collaborated from the Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Colorado-Denver. Researchers administered resveratrol supplements every day to pregnant obese macaque monkeys who were fed a Western diet. Fetal outcomes were compared to lean macaques who were fed a healthy, low-fat diet.
The researchers found that resveratrol had some health benefits for a developing fetus, including increased blood-flow through the placenta. However, these benefits were accompanied by significant negative side effects on pancreatic development.
In recent decades, pancreatic complications have become more common among babies of obese women who eat a Western diet. The pancreas is responsible for regulating blood-sugar levels.
The authors of the study warned pregnant women who be careful what they consume and talk to a doctor before using resveratrol. Dr. Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, said that resveratrol is known to be pharmacologically active, but researchers are just now beginning to understand its safety during pregnancy. He warned in a press release:
“As we begin to establish a safety profile for resveratrol and other dietary supplements, findings like this should come as no surprise. There are always negative side effects when you eat, drink, take or do too much of anything.”
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