Resveratrol as a supplement really caught my attention five years ago when I started focusing on genomics and health outcomes. Up until that point, resveratrol was almost always associated with red wine in my mind. However, I have come to use this compound much more frequently in my clinical practice and have been astonished at its various health benefits.
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound that is abundant in red wine. It is also found in peanuts, grapes, cocoa, apples, soy and berries. There is approximately 1.9 mg of active resveratrol in 1L of red wine. However, the therapeutic dose can be up to 5 grams a day. In the past, resveratrol was touted as an antioxidant; however, its primary role appears to be the activation of other antioxidant pathways.
Previous reports claimed that resveratrol increases lifespan. This has not been proven to be true for humans. Resveratrol has only been shown to increase the lifespan of fruit flies, yeast, worms and fish.
What are some human benefits of Resveratrol?
1. Prevents cardiovascular disease
- Decreases plaque build-up in the blood vessels.
- Improves blood flow in vessels by stimulating the production of Nitric Oxide (eNOS)
- Prevents clot formation by inhibiting platelet activation and aggregation
2. Cancer Prevention
- Induces Phase II detoxification pathways in the liver which helps the body eliminate toxic metabolites
- Induces programmed cell death in several cancer cell lines
- Inhibits angiogenesis which is needed for the rapid growth of invasive tumours
3. Inhibits several inflammatory enzymes
- Improves brain health
- Stimulates the clearance of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain
- Inhibits neuroinflammation
- Reduces oxidative stress
4. Improves insulin sensitivity in Type II diabetes
5. Slows cognitive decline by improving blood flow to the brain
6. Improves bone homeostasis
7. Improves fertility by increasing ovarian follicular reserve and ovarian lifespan
Resveratrol does not work in isolation and its bioavailability is improved when combined with other nutraceuticals such as Quercetin. The correct dosage is also dependent on an individual's age, health status and genetics.
I highly recommend speaking with a licensed health care practitioner before starting any new supplement to ensure that it is appropriate for your condition and health.