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The Health Benefits of Resveratrol

The Health Benefits of Resveratrol

It’s wine o’clock somewhere.

Wine has been a well-loved beverage for its taste, ability to complement sumptuous dishes, sophistication, and relatively lower alcohol content than other liquors. Interestingly though, wine is also getting love for its health benefits, thanks to it being relatively resveratrol-rich.

What’s resveratrol, and what does it do for our health? Read on below.

 

What is resveratrol, and where does it come from?

Resveratrol is an abundant polyphenol found in a variety of plant-based foods and beverages, including red wine. It possesses potent antioxidant properties that help combat aging and maintain health. (Polyphenols are compounds that can be found in plant foods and act as antioxidants.)

Resveratrol is currently being investigated for its potential health benefits, particularly in relation to safeguarding against heart disease and cancer-related ailments, aging, and diabetes. It may also offer anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and cognitive-enhancing properties which are important for brain health.

It is thought to work by activating proteins called sirtuins, which are believed to have a protective effect against aging and disease. It is said to be present in more than 70 plant species and can be found naturally in foods such as grapes (particularly in the skin and seeds of red grapes), blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

Moreover, resveratrol is also associated with the status of being a phytoalexin. Phytoalexins are antibiotics that plants use to defend against unfavorable environmental conditions.

Resveratrol is a fat-soluble compound that has been linked to anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, and estrogenic properties.

The ideal resveratrol intake is not known; however, it is recommended to consume only a moderate amount of foods and beverages that are rich in resveratrol. Some studies have suggested that consuming between 10-100 mg of resveratrol per day may be beneficial.

In terms of food sources, it is advised to opt for whole foods that are naturally rich in resveratrol, such as grapes, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, and dark chocolate. For those who prefer to consume a supplement, it is recommended to opt for a product with a minimum of 10 mg of resveratrol.

In general, it is best to consume resveratrol in moderation and not exceed the recommended dosage. It is also important to note that drinking too much alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of health problems, it is still recommended to drink alcoholic beverages moderately, including red wine.

What does resveratrol do?

Despite its modest potency, resveratrol has been found to possess antioxidant-like properties. This means that it may offer protection against the ravages of free radicals—potentially delaying or preventing cellular deterioration.

Studies suggest that regular supplementation with resveratrol can reduce the risk of diabetes, improve cardiovascular health, protect brain health, and even slow down the aging process.

In addition to these potential benefits, resveratrol has also been linked to increased life expectancy in some studies. While more research is needed to understand the benefits of resveratrol, it is clear that this compound has a wide range of possible health benefits.

While more research is needed to definitively prove these benefits, current studies point to resveratrol as a promising supplement for overall health.

How does resveratrol help?

As mentioned, resveratrol is often used to help in reducing inflammation, improve heart health, and protect against cancer. It may also help reduce the risk of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Additionally, resveratrol is sometimes used to treat diabetes, high cholesterol, and other conditions. It is available as a supplement in various forms including capsules, tablets, and liquids.

 Resveratrol is commonly used as a dietary supplement to promote health and well-being. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help improve conditions such as arthritis.

Here are some examples of the use of resveratrol:

  • Positive effects on the heart and blood fats. Resveratrol is thought to help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels.

A study on rodents revealed that resveratrol can be beneficial to cholesterol levels. Specifically, it was found to help lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels and body weight, while simultaneously increasing HDL or good cholesterol levels.
Studies also suggest that resveratrol may also help prevent heart attack or cardiac arrest for its ability to prevent clot formation.
A study done in 2015 observed that high doses of resveratrol can help reduce an individual’s systolic blood pressure (the pressure exerted on the artery walls when the heart beats).
  • Lengthening of lifespan in certain animals. There have been a couple of studies focusing on resveratrol’s ability to “extend lifespan.” Studies say that there is evidence that shows resveratrol “activates certain genes that ward off the diseases of aging.” While these studies sound promising, it is important to note that these studies were done on animals and other organisms and not on humans.

  • Brain health. Studies suggest that drinking red wine (a good source of resveratrol; red wine is said to contain three to 10 times more resveratrol than white wine) can help slow down age-related declines in cognition. In particular, studies say that resveratrol seems to have the ability to interfere with beta-amyloids which are crucial in the forming of the plaques that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, resveratrol is said to have some abilities that may protect nerve cells from damage and fight the plaque buildup that can lead to the disease.
  • Increase insulin sensitivity. As far as animal studies have shown, resveratrol promotes insulin sensitivity and preventing complications from diabetes. One explanation for this is studies observed that there are signs that resveratrol can stop a certain enzyme from turning glucose into sugar alcohol (called sorbitol) which then prevents cell-damaging oxidative stress.

  • Ease joint pain. Resveratrol is believed to have positive benefits for people suffering from joint pain, in particular those with Arthritis.

A study done on rabbits showed that when Arthritis-ridden rabbits were injected with resveratrol into their knee joints, the rabbits showed less damage to their cartilage.
Other research also showed that resveratrol may help with Arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cancer cell suppression. In some test tube studies, resveratrol showed promise in fighting several kinds of cancer cells, including those of gastric, colon, skin, breast, and prostate.

Studies found that resveratrol may inhibit cancer cell growth, change gene expression, and have hormonal effects that would prevent hormone-dependent cancer cells from spreading.
  • Relieving poor pulmonary function. A new study has found that one possible effect of resveratrol supplementation may help relieve the symptoms of poor pulmonary function. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that participants who took resveratrol had significantly improved pulmonary function compared to those who did not take the supplement. The results suggest that resveratrol could be a viable option for those suffering from pulmonary problems. Further studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of resveratrol in relieving pulmonary symptoms.

 

Some precautions on resveratrol.

Though resveratrol is generally considered safe, however, there are potential side effects that should be taken into consideration.

Common side effects include nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and skin rash. In rare cases, individuals may experience an allergic reaction such as hives or difficulty breathing. Additionally, some people may develop an allergic reaction to resveratrol if they are allergic to grapes. Other reported possible side effects of resveratrol are liver dysfunction and bicytopenia (reduced blood cells).

As with any supplement, it is important to check with a healthcare provider before taking resveratrol supplements to ensure it will not cause adverse effects to the user or interact with any medications or other supplements. It is also important to note that the long-term safety of resveratrol has not been fully established.

In conclusion...

While further research is needed to fully understand the exact mechanisms by which resveratrol produces these effects, resveratrol does have very promising benefits for the human body. The antioxidant power of resveratrol can help protect the body from oxidative damage, while its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the body.

For those looking to improve their overall health, resveratrol might be a beneficial supplement to add to their daily regimen for as long as we stay cognizant of its potential side effects associated with it.

Consulting a physician will always be the best route before taking resveratrol, especially if you're considering taking resveratrol supplements, to ensure that it does not interfere with any medication or supplements you are already taking and to avoid it causing any unwanted effects on your body.

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(Photo: Freepik)

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