Resveratrol & Health

Resveratrol is a polyphenolic plant/phyto-chemical which is present mainly in red grapes, peanuts, cocoa, cranberries and blueberries. The the scientific community has accepted it as a great antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent with a long list of health benefits.

Heart Health
Resveratrol stimulates the formation of adiponectin, a protein known to decrease risk of heart attack. It also increases endothelial progenitor cells, higher levels of which in blood are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, as well as improved blood pressure. Resveratrol also helps prevent blood clots with similar effects of aspirin.

Mental Health
A research led by Dr. Sylvain Dore from Johns Hopkins University found resveratrol increases brain levels of an enzyme heme oxygenase that protects nerve cells from damage. The animals that were treated with the red grape compound experienced 40 percent less brain damage than the untreated ones. Further, resveratrol has been shown to increase brain oxygenation which relates to increased memory capacity and improved cognition. Resveratrol may also protect nerve cells from damage and buildup of plaque that can lead to Alzheimer's.

Many studies have found that resveratrol extends the lifespan of yeast by 60 percent, worms and flies by 30 percent, mice by 15 percent and fish by roughly 60 percent. Researchers believe that resveratrol activates a gene called SIRT1 which is linked to a family of proteins thought to be involved with longevity.

Exercise Endurance
Dr. Johan Auwerx and colleagues from the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch, France found that the mice on high dosage of resveratrol were able to run twice as far as the mice that were not supplemented. The resveratrol mice were also found to have energy-charged muscles and a lower heart rate, much like trained athletes.

- A study conducted by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, published in Endocrinology found that resveratrol activates sirtuins in parts of the brain known to govern glucose metabolism which results in improving high levels of blood sugar and insulin.
- A paper published in the science journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism by scientists at the Peninsula Medical School in England found that resveratrol can protect against and mend the cellular damage to blood vessels caused by high production of glucose in diabetes. Diabetes causes vascular complications by damaging mitochondria (generates energy for all cells) creating highly damaging 'free radicals' which result in nephropathy (kidney disease), heart disease and retinopathy (which if left untreated can lead to blindness.

- Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany found that resveratrol hindered fat storage by inhibiting the pre-fat cells from increasing and prevented them from converting into mature fat cells. Researchers have also found it to better the circulating levels of leptin (a hormone that helps regulate appetite and metabolism).
- A study published in the BMC Physiology journal by Fabienne Aujard, from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France noted that resveratrol reduces weight by increasing satiety (the feeling of being full) and by increasing the resting metabolic rate (the amount of energy expended while at rest)
- In separate studies, it has also been found that resveratrol reduced production of certain cytokines (interleukins 6 and 8), substances that may be linked to the development of obesity-related disorders, such as diabetes and clogged coronary arteries.

In the July 26, 2008 Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers confirmed that resveratrol produces a selective action that is able to target malignant cells for destruction while allowing nonmalignant cells to modulate its effect. It is just this type of malignant cell action that chemotherapy aims to achieve. Resveratrol has shown promising results in studies that involve the treatment of colon, prostate, pancreatic and esophageal cancer.

Alcoholic Liver
Research from the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida found that resveratrol reduces the amount of fat produced in the livers of mice chronically fed high levels of ethanol. It also increases the rate that existing liver fat is broken down.

Eye Disease
Vision researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have documented that resveratrol stops out-of-control blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) in the eye and is effective in treating age-related macular degeneration and retinopathy.

Natural Antibiotic, Fungicide & Antiviral
Because plants produce resveratrol only in response to fungal or bacterial attack it is a natural antibiotic and fungicide. Resveratrol has been shown to prevent the continued reproduction of the flu virus if taken within six hours of infection.

If you're considering using resveratrol supplements for any condition, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen. Most resveratrol capsules sold in the U.S. contain extracts from the Japanese and Chinese knotweed plant Polygonum cuspidatum which is the richest source of resveratrol. Most supplements contain 250 to 500 milligrams of resveratrol.

Resveratrol supplements might interact with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen by increasing the risk for bleeding.