Resveratrol may help mitigate the effects of multiple sclerosis on the eyes.

Multiple sclerosis, commonly referred to by its acronym MS, is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes damage to neurons in the brain by breaking down the protective myelin sheath on the ends of these brain cells. Although its exact cause is unknown, evidence suggests that many factors are involved, such as genetic predisposition, viral infection, diet, and exposure to toxins.144

MS can lead to functional impairment in organs. For example, the neuron damage in MS can result in optic neuritis—inflammation of the optic nerve that can cause permanent loss of eyesight in whichever eye is affected.145

How Does It Work?

Resveratrol is a known regulator of inflammatory factors, including Nuclear Factor B (NF-κB), a family of proteins that controls hundreds of genes involved in cell division, natural cell cycle death, and immune response. Although there is some dispute over whether or not the beneficial effects of resveratrol are due to activating one of the so-called longevity genes (in particular, SIRT1), some animal studies indicate that there appears to be some connection—even if indirect. Activating sirtuin genes can reverse damage associated with free radical damage, including degenerative changes to nerve cells.15,26,61,145

In an animal study modeling optic neuritis caused by human multiple sclerosis, mice given an oral form of pharmaceutical-grade resveratrol (SRT501) showed significantly more nerve density than untreated mice. But when given a SIRT1 inhibitor in addition, the beneficial effects of resveratrol were diminished. This suggests that resveratrol can help prevent the usually unavoidable neuron damage associated with MS by directly or indirectly activating beneficial SIRT1 genes.145

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