Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Health Benefits of Resveratrol

I wrote several blogs about supplements, herbs, and natural remedies that I take or experiment with. I am interesting in slowing down aging and want to live a long, fulfilling life devoid of illnesses, diseases, and health problems. The blogs are:

I wrote several blogs about supplements, herbs, and natural remedies that I take or experiment with. I am interesting in slowing down aging and want to live a long, fulfilling life devoid of illnesses, diseases, and health problems. The blogs are:
Scientists classify resveratrol in a class of plant compounds named polyphenols. These compounds possess antioxidant properties that protect the body from cancer and heart disease.

One source of resveratrol comes from grapes and mostly contained in the grapes’ skin. The resveratrol protects the grape from fungi. If wineries ferment grapes into red wine, the resveratrol becomes concentrated in red wine. Wines may supply more resveratrol than grape juices because fermentation converts piceid to resveratrol in the wine. The alcohol may help the body absorb the resveratrol better than other sources.

White wine supplies smaller quantities of resveratrol because wineries ferment the wine without the grape skins, while wineries ferment red wine with the grape skins.

The resveratrol concentration in Muscadine grapes is ambiguous. Some believe Muscadine grapes contain the highest concentration of resveratrol in nature because their extra thick skins protect the seeds while other researchers conclude Muscadine grapes provide little or no resveratrol.

Blueberries, berries, cranberries, cocoa, dark chocolate, and peanuts also supply resveratrol. Table 1 displays the content of resveratrol in several foods and drinks, and the levels of resveratrol can vary greatly.

Table 1. Resveratrol content in selected foods
Food Serving size Total resveratrol
Peanuts (raw) 1 cup or 146 grams 0.01 – 0.26
Peanuts (boiled) 1 cup or 180 grams 0.32 – 1.28
Peanut butter 1 cup or 258 grams 0.04 – 0.13
Red grapes 1 cup or 160 grams 0.24 – 1.25
Cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate 1 cup or 200 grams 0.07 – 0.46
Pinot noir 150 milliliters 0.06 – 0.30
Red grape juice 150 milliliters 0.17 – 1.30
Spanish red wine 150 milliliters 0.29 – 1.89
Spanish rose wine 150 milliliters 0.06 – 0.53
Spanish white wine
150 milliliters
0.01 – 0.27

Resveratrol comprises of two isomers: cis- (Z) and trans- (E). Isomers are molecules comprising the same atoms, but the atoms are arranged as mirror images in three-dimensional space. Many claim the trans-resveratrol possesses the health benefits while cis-resveratrol does not. In Table 1, the total includes both the cis and trans resveratrols, and they usually occur in equal amounts.

The health supplement industry extracts resveratrol from red wine or red grapes or from the roots of Japanese and Chinese knotweed, known as polygonum cuspidatum. Japanese Knotweed, a type of bamboo, is an invasive weed. Many recommend not to plant knotweed in your yard because it quickly spreads and becomes difficult to control.

Gram for gram, peanuts provide about half the resveratrol as red wine and contain between 2.3 and 4.5 micrograms for every gram. On the other hand, sprouted peanuts supply comparable levels of resveratrol as grapes and yield between 11.7 and 25.7 micrograms per gram depending on the peanut cultivar.

Blueberries provide twice as much resveratrol as bilberries, but resveratrol levels vary greatly by region. These fruits possess less than 10% of the resveratrol of grapes. Cooking or heating the berries degrade resveratrol by half. Finally, health supplement industry sells the extract of the mulberry skins as a nutritional supplement.

Researchers also found resveratrol in the eastern white pine, Pinus strobus and the Chinese herb, Gnetum cleistostachyum.

Benefits of Resveratrol

Some researchers believe resveratrol explains the "French Paradox" – the French people have good cardiovascular health despite consuming a poor diet loaded with fats and copiously amounts of wine.

Some researchers, however, concluded the trace levels of resveratrol reached in the blood of French people cannot explain the paradox. They believe the benefits of wine originate from the multiple substances found in wine. For example, wine contains procyanidins that correlate with cardiovascular benefits. Grape seed extract also contains procyanidins.

Researchers mostly studied the effects of resveratrol in test tubes and animals. Thus, the researchers only suggest resveratrol could protect the human body against several diseases.


Some refer to resveratrol as the “fountain of youth” because it appears to ward off many diseases associated with aging, enhance longevity, and boost the lifespan of human cells. Resveratrol protects the body’s cells from damaging free radicals – charged molecules inside the body that harm and damage healthy cells.

Scientific studies involving rodents indicate resveratrol could counteract the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. For example, mice consuming a high-calorie diet while taking resveratrol lived longer than mice not given resveratrol.

Even though scientists do not fully understand the chemical mechanisms of resveratrol's impact on extending life, resveratrol appears to mimic several biochemical effects of calorie-restriction diets. For instance, researchers recently have shown resveratrol activates three genes related to longevity. The three genes are SirT1s, Fox0s, and PBEFs. For instance, the SirT1 gene may protect the body against the diseases of aging and the damaging effects of obesity.

Other studies indicate resveratrol improves the functioning of the mitochondria, which help the cells convert nutrients into energy. Resveratrol's effect on human lifespan remains unclear as of 2011, but the evidence shows resveratrol boosts the life of yeast and mice.

Alzheimer's disease

Resveratrol, being unique among antioxidants, can protect the brain and nervous system by crossing the blood-brain barrier. Resveratrol may be effective against neuron dysfunction and cell death, and may, in theory, treat Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. Resveratrol could protect nerve cells from damage and reduce the buildup of plaque that leads to Alzheimer's. However, researchers have not yet tested this in humans for any disease.

People can gain a mental edge by boosting the blood flow to their brains. UK researchers studied 22 healthy adults and determined resveratrol had increased blood flow to the nervous system. Furthermore, Illinois researchers discovered mice receiving resveratrol had better memory recall and increased mental performance.

Boost Testosterone

As men enter their thirties, their testosterone levels begin declining. According to Korean researchers, mice consuming resveratrol for 28 days had improved their blood concentration of testosterone by more than 50%. Consequently, resveratrol could raise natural testosterone production in men.


French researchers indicated resveratrol could slow down the production of cancer cells because it interferes with all three stages of cancer development—initiation, promotion and progression. In some cancer cell cultures, resveratrol triggered apoptosis, which causes the cell to die, and thus kill the cancer cells. Resveratrol slowed the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells in test tubes and could wipe out skin and gastrointestinal tract tumors, where it comes into direct contact. Resveratrol, being similar to other polyphenols, shares similarities to chemotherapy, anticancer drugs, such as etoposide and doxorubicin.

Some researchers, nevertheless, discovered injecting high doses of resveratrol into young mice enhanced tumor growth.


Resveratrol could prevent insulin resistance – a condition where insulin cannot reduce the sugar levels in the blood. Insulin resistance usually leads to diabetes. Researchers experimenting with animals have demonstrated resveratrol can reduce the effects of diabetes.

Heart Disease

Center for Disease Control and Prevention ranked heart disease as the number one cause of death in the United States in 2011. Many know drinking red wine reduces the risk of heart disease. For example, by drinking one to two 5-ounce glasses of wine per day, participants significantly reduced their risk of developing atherosclerosis – a condition where fats deposit and collect in the arteries making them narrower. Atherosclerosis can lead to strokes and heart disease. Finally, wine lowers blood pressure, keeps the heart healthy, and improves the blood vessels' elasticity.

Researchers in Connecticut determined resveratrol conditions the heart, protecting it against cardiac events. Resveratrol helps reduce inflammation and inhibits the oxidation of LDL "bad" cholesterol. Hence, the blood's platelets stick together less and do not clot, thus reducing the chance of a heart attack.


Inflammation is the body's natural response. White blood cells defend the body from outside invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, some people always remain in a chronically inflamed state. Chronic inflammation damages the body and is connected to numerous diseases like heart disease. Researchers showed the resveratrol protects the body from sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D – two molecules known to trigger inflammation.

Protect Eyesight

People consider vision the most important of the five senses, and they will notice the slightest vision loss. Unfortunately, most people experience vision loss as a normal part of aging. Missouri researchers discovered resveratrol could counteract this vision loss because resveratrol can regulate angiogenesis – the forming of new blood vessels. Resveratrol prevents the abnormal growth of blood vessels that could damage eyesight.

Enhance Endurance

Resveratrol produces many benefits similar to exercise. Canadian researchers discovered in a 12-week study on rats that resveratrol supplements boost endurance, increase oxidative metabolism, and enhanced cardiac function. Thus, athletes cold combine endurance training and resveratrol supplements to boost their performance.

Weight Loss

We have little human evidence of resveratrol's effect on metabolism. However, resveratrol mimics a calorie-restricted diet. For example, it protected mice fed a high-calorie diet from obesity-related health problems. Animal studies have shown resveratrol helps overweight mice run farther and live about 20 percent longer.

Dosage and Side Effects

Like other supplements, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate resveratrol. Unfortunately, consumers do not know what they have bought when they purchase a bottle, or whether the supplements work.

Since researchers conducted few studies on resveratrol in humans, doctors cannot substantiate any benefits, and they do not know the long-term effects the supplements can have on the human body. Thus, the experts cannot recommend any specific dosage, and dosages vary from supplement to supplement.

Researchers had not detected any severe side effects even when users had taken resveratrol in large doses. In one small study, healthy volunteers had taken a single dose up to 5 grams of trans-resveratrol, and it caused no serious adverse effects. However, resveratrol may interact with blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin), and non-steroid, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, increasing bleeding risk.

Supplements vary in purity and can provide anywhere between 50% and 99% resveratrol. Many brands contain an extract of Japanese knotweed, and most supplements supply from 250 to 500 milligrams of resveratrol – much lower than the amounts the researchers used in animal studies. To get the equivalent dosage used in animal studies, people would need to take two grams of resveratrol, or 2,000 milligrams per day.

Some retailers advise women that resveratrol may interfere with oral contraceptives. Moreover, pregnant women or women intending to become pregnant should not use resveratrol because it may harm the human fetus. Finally, children or young adults under eighteen should not take resveratrol because we do not know how resveratrol could affect their developing bodies.


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    1. Thank you. I try to use Earnest Hemingway's techniques for writing - short, sweet, and to the point.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Here are some amazing resveratrol health benefits :

    1. Managing weight
    2. Lowers the risk of cholesterol and high BP
    3. Keeps away free radical damage and supports a healthy skin
    4. Essential for healthy cellular aging

    You can use a Best Resveratrol supplements to take advantage of these health benefits of resveratrol.

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