What Are The Benefits Of Resveratrol? Everything You Need To Know

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What Are The Benefits Of Resveratrol? Everything You Need To Know

The French have some of the lowest rates of heart disease, despite their lifestyle, which involves high-fat diets, smoking, and increased coffee consumption. The common theory is that it has something to do with the amount of red wine they drink. 

Drinking red wine has long been associated with numerous health benefits. These benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, helping cognitive health, reducing cancer cell growth, and more. Research has found that a compound named resveratrol is to thank for all these benefits. However, drinking red wine isn’t feasible for everyone, especially in high amounts. That’s why companies have introduced resveratrol supplements. They market these supplements promising their customers all the health benefits we have mentioned. 

Resveratrol supplements have many merits. As more studies surface, we see that resveratrol has numerous health benefits. In fact, studies are advocating for resveratrol supplementation to treat chronic diseases. However, before you start resveratrol supplementation, it is best to learn more about this compound.

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a polyphenol with potent antioxidant properties. It occurs naturally in plant foods where it’s supposed to protect them against environmental stresses like fungal diseases. Resveratrol is extremely abundant in the skin of red grapes, which explains its presence in red wine. 

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant, and that’s why humans get numerous health benefits when they take this compound. The compound neutralizes free radicals in the human body, which helps with damage. It’s also known for its anti-aging properties, making it very popular among people. 

Where Can You Get Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is most popularly found in red grape skins. Since manufacturers ferment red grapes to make red wine, it’s also high in resveratrol. You can also find resveratrol in white wine though it is in lesser quantity than in red wine. You can opt for grape juice if you don’t want to drink red wine.

Besides drinking red wine, you can get resveratrol by eating foods high in resveratrol concentration. These foods include peanuts, cocoa, and some berries like blueberries. These are considered the best foods to stay fit and  helps to lead a wholesome life. You can even increase your resveratrol intake by eating pistachios and dark chocolate. 

Manufacturers don’t use grapes to extract the compound for resveratrol supplements. Instead, they use a plant called Polygonum cuspidatum, commonly known as Japanese Knotweed. This plant has the highest resveratrol concentrations in nature. 

Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Supplement manufacturers have linked taking resveratrol supplements with a lot of health benefits. However, most of this evidence comes from animal studies. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration approved none of these resveratrol supplements. Nonetheless, there were some studies on humans, and the potential health benefits of resveratrol supplementation are as follows: 

  • Antioxidant Activity

Resveratrol’s antioxidant properties are well-known. Thus, it can potentially relieve the body from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is a difference in your body’s antioxidant and free radical ratio. 

Free radicals are extremely reactive molecules. They can react with other molecules in your body to destabilize and damage your DNA, promoting cell damage. They owe their reactivity to their uneven electron number.

Antioxidants work to neutralize these free radicals by lending them electrons. Since they can donate their electrons without destabilizing their own structure, they contribute to the body’s stability. 

Oxidative stress can contribute to aging. It can also put you at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, neural diseases, and hypertension. It can also contribute to cancer cell growth and inflammation. Since resveratrol is an antioxidant, it can help relieve oxidative stress. Thus, resveratrol consumption can protect against cell damage and death caused by UV. The supplement can also protect against low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and DNA damage.

  • Promotes Heart Health

Traditional Chinese medicine uses Japanese Knotweed (the stuff for resveratrol supplements) to prevent heart diseases like arteriosclerosis and hyperlipidemia. Arteriosclerosis occurs when cholesterol builds up in your blood vessel walls, thickening and hardening them. The disease can progress to such an extent that it can block the heart’s blood supply leading to heart failure. Hyperlipidemia also works the same way. 

Resveratrol lowers cholesterol, preventing thickening and blockage of the blood vessels. Thus, it protects the heart from failure by preventing the formation of blood clots. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory properties and works to reduce inflammation in the heart. Thus, it improves the heart’s functioning. Resveratrol could potentially be used to treat cardiovascular diseases like heart failure in patients. However, more research is needed on this front. 

A study on patients who had suffered from heart failure showed that resveratrol helped increase the heart’s blood flow. It also showed that trans-resveratrol increased the function of the left ventricle. 

  • Protection Against Cognitive Impairment

Your brain uses a lot of oxygen, making it vulnerable to oxidative stress. That’s because it releases a lot of free radicals while performing its functions. If these free radicals increase beyond tolerable levels, it causes oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause brain degeneration, increasing your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and more. Thus, oxidative stress can cause age-related cognitive decline.

One of the markers of Alzheimer’s disease is the development of amyloid plaques. Oxidative stress can form these plaques by changing the structure of the amyloid protein in your body. Thereby contributing to Alzheimer’s. Resveratrol can stop the breakdown of these amyloid proteins.

In other cases, free radicals can damage the brain cells, leading to Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, this damage can cause inflammation of the brain tissue, which further affects brain function. Since resveratrol shows anti-inflammatory activity, it can also help with neural hemorrhaging. Furthermore, resveratrol can act as a wrap that protects the nerve cells, ultimately protecting brain function. 

  • Lowering Blood Pressure

As you age, your arteries become stiffer. That means that when the heart beats, you will feel greater pressure on them. Eventually, this leads to high systolic blood pressure. Studies suggest that resveratrol can help lower this systolic blood pressure. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any evidence of it reducing the diastolic blood pressure.Another study, revelas that moderate dosage of CBD can helps in maintaining the blood pressure levels.  

Theories suggest that resveratrol activates mechanisms to produce more nitric oxide in the body. This nitric oxide leads to vasodilation. Vasodilation means that the blood vessels dilate, reducing blood pressure. 

A clinical study in 2016 studied the effect of resveratrol on patients with hypertension. They gave them Evelor, a form of resveratrol, and regular hypertension therapy. The study lasted two years, and afterward, the patient’s blood pressure levels were in the normal range. This study proved that resveratrol has a blood pressure lowering effect and that patients no longer need additional blood pressure medications.

  • Lowering Cholesterol Levels

Your body has two types of cholesterols, HDL and LDL. HDL cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein which we also call good cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is responsible for absorbing the cholesterol from your body and taking it to the liver. Afterward, the liver eliminates the excess cholesterol.

On the other hand, LDL cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, is bad cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol is more common in your body. Unfortunately, this type of cholesterol can build up in your blood vessels as plaques. Thus, causing the vessels to narrow. If the plaques burst, it can result in blood clotting. 

LDL cholesterol can increase your blood pressure and cause blood clotting, leading to heart disease and failure. Resveratrol can lower cholesterol production by influencing enzymes in the body. Furthermore, resveratrol decreases LDL oxidation, which causes plaque build-up in the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. This disease can ultimately lead to blood clotting, which cuts off the heart’s blood supply. Thus, resveratrol is also helping prevent blood clots.

  • Protection Against Cancer

Resveratrol can inhibit cancer cell growth by regulating molecular pathways in the body. At least, that’s what we saw in animal and lab trials. Human clinical trials are still underway to determine the effectiveness of resveratrol against cancer cells. 

Researchers first reported the anti-cancer properties in 1947. The researchers observed that resveratrol was effective against leukemia, breast cancer, and skin cancer. Of course, the effects were only observed in rats. In fact, the compound showed activities that could be seen as preventing cancer as well as slowing it. 

Further down the line, researchers discovered that resveratrol was also effective against colon, pancreatic, ovarian, endometrial, gastric, and prostate cancers. In vitro studies showed that resveratrol restricts cancer cells from growing and initiates apoptosis in those cells. Apoptosis is programmed cell death that the body uses to eliminate damaged or unwanted cells. 

Research suggests that this compound may change gene expression in cancer cells to stop their growth. Additionally, it can regulate hormones to prevent some types of cancer from spreading throughout the body. 

Carcinogens are chemicals that can cause cancer. Resveratrol can stop the formation of these carcinogens, thus, preventing cancer. Furthermore, the compound can block the action of these carcinogens to stop the formation of cancer cells. 

Currently, chemotherapy is the prevalent mode of cancer therapy. However, the cancer cells can become resistant to chemotherapy drugs after a while. In such cases, resveratrol can induce chemo-sensitivity in cancer cells. Thus, using resveratrol alongside chemotherapy and radiation can help treat cancer more effectively. Furthermore, resveratrol’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. These side effects include fatigue, pain, neurodegeneration, anorexia, depression, and cognitive impairment. 

  • Protection Against Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that causes your body to be unable to remove glucose from the bloodstream. This excess blood sugar can cause oxidative stress. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t produce any insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels. 

Type 2 diabetes means that your body is producing some insulin, but it isn’t responding to it as it should. Insulin resistance means that your body can’t respond to insulin and, thus, can’t utilize the glucose in your blood. 

The third type is gestational diabetes. This type develops during pregnancy and usually goes away once the person gives birth. Studies have shown that resveratrol has been effective against type 2 diabetes. That’s because it can increase insulin sensitivity in the body, improving blood glucose levels. 

Metformin is usually used to treat type 2 diabetes in overweight individuals. Some studies combined Metformin therapy with resveratrol. According to the results, both medications worked together to regulate AMP-activated kinase to metabolize the blood sugar, thus increasing insulin sensitivity. 

Another cool thing is that all the health benefits of resveratrol that we mentioned are more prominent in people with diabetes. Thus, resveratrol is more effective at reducing oxidative stress, blood pressure, etc., in people with diabetes. 

  • Antimicrobial Activity

Plants produce resveratrol to protect themselves against fungal attacks. Given their original purpose, it made sense for scientists to investigate resveratrol’s antimicrobial properties. So far, the result has been positive. Resveratrol has shown antimicrobial activities toward bacteria, fungi, and viruses. 

When scientists tested the compound against different bacteria, they found it to be effective against bacteria responsible for gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is more commonly known as stomach flu. The compound is also effective against bacteria that cause pneumonia and diarrhea. Resveratrol works by inhibiting bacterial growth. 

Resveratrol was also effective against the Candida fungal species. Candida is a yeast species that usually causes vaginal infections, UTIs, oral thrush, and more. Resveratrol works to kill the fungus, making it a potential treatment for fungal infections. We don’t know if it’s effective in any other fungal species. 

Resveratrol has also shown antiviral capabilities. According to a study, it stopped viral replication for the pseudorabies virus. This virus usually affects pigs. Resveratrol showed decreased mortalities in infected pigs. 

Drug-resistant bacterial infections can be especially hard to treat. However, studies have shown that a resveratrol-derivative compound has been used to treat MRSA, which is a superbug. The study suggested sub-tropical application for treating skin infections.

  • Anti-aging Properties

Research on ways to slow or beat aging has been raging for years. However, while life expectancy is much higher today, we haven’t been able to find a way to stop aging. We know that oxidative stress causes aging, so technically antioxidants should help us slow the process. 

Resveratrol is a very potent antioxidant that has anti-aging properties. So, scientists have been investigating its potential to slow or reverse aging. There is a theory that resveratrol can regulate the STR1 gene. Scientists believe that the STR1 gene can slow aging and relieve oxidative stress. 

Recent research showed that low doses of resveratrol increased the life span of rats by a year. However, high doses of the compound killed those rats in a matter of months. We don’t know if humans can prolong their lives using resveratrol as more studies are needed to help gauge that. However, resveratrol showed promise in non-mammalian species. In fact, over 60% of the model organisms that were given resveratrol experienced an increase in their life span. Unfortunately, this effect was more pronounced in organisms less related to humans. 

  • Helps With Arthritis 

Arthritis is a chronic disease that affects the joints. The disease manifests itself as stiffening and pain in the joints. The joints only stiffen because their cartilage deteriorates, causing the bones to rub together and cause pain. 

A study on rabbits showed that resveratrol significantly decreased the amount of cartilage that deteriorates. Thus, resveratrol can be used to protect against cartilage damage and treat arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis is a form of arthritis caused by the immune system, and it affects all the joints in the body and causes pain and inflammation. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory properties. 

According to in-vitro studies, resveratrol can reduce this inflammation by suppressing its genes. Of course, we still need more human clinical trials to ascertain these findings and to see if resveratrol will be as effective inside the body. 

  • Protection Against Acne And Wrinkles 

Your skin has bacteria, and these bacteria can cause you to get acne and wrinkles.  Resveratrol has anti-bacterial properties, which could restrict these bacteria and potentially treat your acne. 

Currently, dermatologists recommend benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. While the oxidant is effective, it can cause adverse reactions in high amounts. These reactions include eye, nose, and throat irritation, which also causes redness and swelling of the eyes and skin. It can cause a runny nose, cough, and breathing troubles in acute cases. 

Given these reactions, it’s natural for the patients to have trouble using this chemical to treat their acne. However, a recent study can solve this problem. According to this study, combining resveratrol with benzoyl peroxide can increase the chemical’s anti-bacterial capabilities. Thus, you would only need to use a little of it to treat acne, which is much easier.  

Individually, resveratrol showed bacterial growth inhibition, which wasn’t very strong but lasted longer. On the other hand, benzoyl peroxide has stronger anti-bacterial effects that don’t last long. However, when researchers combined the two compounds, the effects were strong and lasted longer. Additionally, resveratrol reduced benzoyl peroxide’s harmful effects.

This breakthrough will help pharmaceutical companies develop acne creams that are easier to use and more effective. However, we still need more studies to check the long-term effects of these chemicals. 

Side Effects of Taking Resveratrol

The first thing you need to understand is that we don’t have a lot of data from clinical studies with resveratrol, especially for humans. Thus, we don’t understand the full extent of how resveratrol can adversely affect people. 

We didn’t see any evidence of resveratrol being harmful at low doses. There were some reports of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver dysfunction. It’s important to mention that the last one only happened in a person with non-alcoholic fatty acid disease. 

However, the compound could potentially have a few adverse effects at exceptionally high doses. In fact, there were reports of resveratrol being harmful to normal cells because of its apoptotic properties. You must remember that resveratrol supplements do not have FDA approval, so you take them at your own risk. 

There were also reports that resveratrol can affect how your body metabolizes medication, and it can cause these drugs to accumulate in your body, harming you. So if you take anti-depressants, immunosuppressants, blood pressure medication, or any other medication, try to avoid high levels of resveratrol.

Drug Interactions

We don’t have a lot of information about resveratrol’s drug interactions. That’s because there haven’t been a lot of studies to check the compound’s drug interactions. However, we do know about its interactions with a few compounds.

  • Cytochrome P450

Cytochrome P450 are enzymes that produce compounds like steroids and cholesterol. Since resveratrol is associated with lowering cholesterol levels, it also inhibits these enzymes. However, Cytochrome P450 is also responsible for drug metabolism and eliminating foreign chemicals. 

Since resveratrol inhibits Cytochrome P450, it can lead to the accumulation of drugs in the body. These drugs can be immunosuppressants or something else. The drug accumulation can lead to toxicity in the body. Thus, you should avoid taking resveratrol at high levels if you are taking medications. Even if you must take it, talk to your doctor before you do. 

  • Blood Thinners

Since resveratrol has anti-clotting properties, you should avoid taking blood thinners or NSAIDs. That’s because taking both of them together will increase your risk of bleeding and bruising. These drugs include over-the-counter (OTC) medication like aspirin and ibuprofen. 

Who Shouldn’t Take Resveratrol?

Like any other compound, not everyone can take resveratrol. So, if you have the following conditions, refrain from using resveratrol supplements. If you have to take them, consult with your doctor beforehand.

  • Bleeding Disorders

If you have a bleeding disorder like hemophilia, resveratrol may make things worse. In diseases like hemophilia, the body lacks clotting factors. This means that blood won’t stop on its own if you get injured like it normally does. Similarly, you’ll have trouble stopping your bleeding if you don’t have enough platelets. 

From what we have seen, resveratrol can stop the blood from clotting. Normally, this is a good thing because it decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, this can be a disaster for someone with a bleeding disorder. 

Look at it like this. Your body already has trouble forming blood clots. So if you take an inhibitor for blood clots, the problem will only worsen. In such cases, if you are injured, you won’t be able to stop your bleeding. 

  • Estrogen Sensitivity

Estrogen sensitivity can also refer to high levels of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is usually the female hormone and initiates puberty in women. However, if the hormone exceeds its normal levels in the body, it can cause several adverse reactions. These reactions include irregular periods, weight gain, fibroids, and fatigue. 

If the estrogen levels are too high in men, it can cause the development of breast tissue, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. Resveratrol can act as the estrogen hormone. Thus, taking resveratrol supplements might not be good if you already have high estrogen levels.

  • Pregnant Women and Children

We simply don’t have enough information about the compound’s effects to declare it safe. Thus, you shouldn’t take resveratrol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding because resveratrol can have adverse effects on fetal tissue. Similarly, you shouldn’t give resveratrol to your kids, either.

  • Surgical Patients 

As we said, resveratrol has anti-coagulatory properties. During surgery, it is important that you don’t lose any more blood than absolutely necessary. That’s why you should stop taking resveratrol at least two weeks before your surgery. 

Dosage

According to the current evidence, resveratrol is safe at concentrations of up to 5 g daily. Some studies have shown that it causes mild side effects after the 2.5 g mark. Since there are no pharmacological recommendations for resveratrol at the moment, there is no standard dose. However, most supplements have 250 mg to 500 mg of resveratrol. This concentration is significantly lower than the one used in clinical studies, so we don’t know how effective it will be. If you’re going to take resveratrol supplements, make sure they have trans-resveratrol. 

You should also check to see how your resveratrol supplement was manufactured. The manufacturing facility should have safety certifications. Additionally, they should be using organic materials for their supplements. 

Conclusion: Is Resveratrol Supplements Are Safe To Use?

According to the present evidence, resveratrol has a lot of health benefits. It can prevent cancer, cognitive degenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and more. To get the most out of its benefits, you should increase your intake of resveratrol-rich foods like grapes. 

If you wish to take a more potent form of the compound, you can opt for resveratrol supplements. You will find these supplements in the vitamin section of the store. You can also order them online but be sure to opt for a reputable seller. We recommend going for a resveratrol supplement with trans-resveratrol as its active ingredient. 

Remember, you have to be careful with these supplements. We recommend consulting with your doctor for the proper dosage before starting. Avoid taking the supplements if you are pregnant or taking other medications. Lastly, let your health professional know that you’re taking these supplements, so they can consider any drug interactions that may harm you.

 

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