by William Clearfield, D.O. for Longevinex

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. (1) Affecting 4-10% of the adult female population, PCOS is defined as exhibiting two of the following three entities: oligo or anovulation, clinical or biochemical signs of androgen excess, and twelve (12) or more cysts at least 2 mm in diameter in the ovaries. (2)

Symptoms arising from PCOS include insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, androgen (testosterone) excess, and cardiovascular disease. Patients also experience irregular or absent periods, infertility, excessive facial and body hair growth, weight gain, acne, oily skin, oily hair, breast tenderness, breast cysts, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis. (3)

Conventional treatments, such as hormonal birth control pills and insulin-sensitizing medications, without controlling the androgen excesses frequently result in inadequate and unsatisfactory therapeutic outcomes. (4)  This has led the medical community to explore a natural compound, resveratrol, to improve PCOS symptoms and increase the chances of conception.

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in grapes, berries, peanuts, red wine, and giant knotweed. Giant knotweed is widely grown throughout Japan and is foraged as a wild edible vegetable. The root of Polygonum cuspidatum was widely used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. It is also known to be a rich source of resveratrol, which is a natural polyphenol.(5)

It exhibits activity as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-androgenic compound. (6)  Resveratrol protects the body against damage caused by free radicals and reduces the harmful effects of excess androgens, insulin resistance, and inflammation. (7)

How Resveratrol affects testosterone

Resveratrol interferes with the enzymes aromatase, 17β-HSD, and 5α-reductase thus preventing the conversion of weak precursor androgens into stronger functional androgens such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone and testosterone into estradiol. (8)  By reducing the overall production of testosterone, resveratrol improves symptoms of PCOS, such as hirsutism and acne.

How Resveratrol affects insulin resistance

Resveratrol increases insulin sensitivity while reducing insulin resistance, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes. (10-11)

Resveratrol dosing

A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that resveratrol (1,500 mg) over a period of three months led to a 23% reduction in total testosterone and a 22% reduction in DHEA sulfate levels. Women treated with adequate resveratrol dosing also report improvements in insulin levels leading to blood sugar stabilization. (9)


Resveratrol is a promising natural treatment option that regulates insulin resistance, helps balance hormonal irregularities, and reduces inflammation.


  1.,t%20know%20they%20have%20it., January 24, 2022.
  2. Alexander, C., “Polycystic ovary syndrome: a major unrecognized cardiovascular risk factor in women,” Rev Obstet Gynecol 2009; 2(4):232-39.
  3. Farrell, K., & Antoni, M. H. (2010). Insulin resistance, obesity, inflammation, and depression in polycystic ovary syndrome: biobehavioral mechanisms and interventions. Fertility and sterility, 94(5), 1565–1574.
  4. Costello M, Shrestha B, Eden J, Sjoblom P, Johnson N. Insulin-sensitizing drugs versus the combined oral contraceptive pill for hirsutism, acne and risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer in polycystic ovary syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;1:CD005552.
  5. Koushki, M., Amiri-Dashatan, N., Ahmadi, N., Abbaszadeh, H. A., & Rezaei-Tavirani, M. (2018). Resveratrol: A miraculous natural compound for diseases treatment. Food science & nutrition, 6(8), 2473–2490.
  6. Koushki, M., Amiri-Dashatan, N., Ahmadi, N., Abbaszadeh, H. A., & Rezaei-Tavirani, M. (2018). Resveratrol: A miraculous natural compound for diseases treatment. Food science & nutrition, 6(8), 2473–2490.
  7. Salehi, B., Mishra, A. P., Nigam, M., Sener, B., Kilic, M., Sharifi-Rad, M., Fokou, P. V. T., Martins, N., & Sharifi-Rad, J. (2018). Resveratrol: A Double-Edged Sword in Health Benefits. Biomedicines, 6(3), 91.
  8. Bayala, B., Zoure, A. A., Baron, S., de Joussineau, C., Simpore, J., & Lobaccaro, J. A. (2020). Pharmacological Modulation of Steroid Activity in Hormone-Dependent Breast and Prostate Cancers: Effect of Some Plant Extract Derivatives. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(10), 3690.
  9. Banaszewska B, Wrotyńska-Barczyńska J, Spaczynski RZ, Pawelczyk L, Duleba AJ. Effects of Resveratrol on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016;101(11):4322-4328. doi:10.1210/jc.2016-1858
  10. Zhu, X., Wu, C., Qiu, S., Yuan, X., & Li, L. (2017). Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition & metabolism, 14, 60.
  1. Glovaci, Diana, Fan, Wenjun, Wong, Nathan D., Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus and Cardiovascular Disease, Current Cardiology Reports,2019/03/04

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