Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds called polyphenols. They are used as supplements. They are thought to act like antioxidants, protecting the body against damage that can put you at higher risk for things like cancer and heart disease.  It is in the skin of red grapes, but you can also find it in peanuts and berries. It is sold in the United States as a supplement in the form of capsules. These contain extracts from the Asian plant called Polygonum cuspidatum. Other Resveratrol supplements are made from red wine or red grape extracts. There are many ads on the internet that promise everything from weight loss to a healthier, longer life.

A recent article in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery by Turkish authors showed that Resveratrol given intraperitoneally in rats caused a significant improvement in bone healing in tooth extraction sockets. (J Oral Maxillofac Surg 76:1404-1413, 2018). This is a very interesting article in that they conclude that “this natural compound is useful for alveolar socket healing after tooth extraction”.

There are a number of variables that come into play here: What Resveratrol compound and source are used? How well is it absorbed as the oral form in the human gut? Is it effective for humans at all? Etc. Another important positive point is that there are no reports of severe side effects of the compound, even at higher doses – so if you are inclined to want to experiment with it, it is “probably” safe.

We are always looking for methods to improve healing after bone grafting procedures and bone-healing procedures such as osteotomies and fracture treatment. I do find that a well-balanced diet is necessary for good healing. The worst healing problems that I have seen with bone grafting has been with patients who have malabsorption syndromes or who have significantly modified diets such as vegetarians. Conversely, I see the best healing with patients who eat a well-rounded, balanced diet. I do feel that supplements make a difference as I feel we see better healing in those who are on a broad balanced multivitamin regimen, but I cannot quantify or qualify that. There are just too many variables among individuals.

With this new information, I certainly would not discourage my patients from taking Resveratrol for improved bone healing – I am just not convinced yet that it can make a difference or that it is worth the expense and possible risks.