Nevertheless, the results are encouraging. What happens in a heart attack is that the plaques that build up in the coronary arteries that feed the heart muscle cause a clot to form, completely obstructing the vessel and depriving the heart of oxygen. It’s similar to what happens to the brain in a stroke. This oxygen starvation is called “ischemia” and when the clot is dissolved and blood flow re-established, it is called “reperfusion.” Paradoxically, this rush of blood flow releases toxins that have built up in the cells, resulting in what is called “ischemia-reperfusion injury.” Transplant surgeons deal with a related issue. The ability of resveratrol to counteract the detrimental effects of ischemia-reperfusion has been well documented in numerous studies, and the recent one in mice confirms those findings. But a mouse heart is tiny, and the question of whether the same effect applies in the large muscle mass of the human heart remains speculative.
A likely scenario is that one of the synthetic derivatives of resveratrol, many of which are much more potent, will emerge as a viable therapy for heart attack and stroke. But clinical studies on resveratrol are few in number, as I have pointed out here recently.