Resveratrol is a polyphenol whose best dietary sources are red wine, red grapes, and peanuts. It has become a popular dietary supplement because it has been suggested to be responsible for the cardioprotective effects of red wine. Resveratrol may also mimic the effects of calorie-restriction to increase longevity, as shown in several animal studies. Resveratrol is thought to exert its effects primarily by activating a class of proteins called sirtuins. These proteins are NAD+-dependent deacetylases that potentially regulate metabolism and gene expression. A further increase in the popularity of resveratrol supplements occurred following reports that it may also function as an exercise mimetic, inducing some of the same physiological adaptations in skeletal muscle that are observed with endurance exercise training. Through the AMPK-SIRT1-PGC-1α pathway, resveratrol has been shown to induce transcription of nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins, and thereby induce mitochondrial biogenesis. In animal studies, the amount of resveratrol needed to induce these effects is considerably high. Commercially available supplements may not contain enough resveratrol to be effective as exercise mimetics. However, some supplements may improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, as shown in human studies.
McQuillan, Natalie, "A Literature Review of Dietary Resveratrol Supplements: Do they Mimic the Effects of Endurance Exercise?" (2013). Honors Projects. 192.