Monday, May 16, 2011

Resveratrol Protects Against Free Radical Damage & More!


Resveratrol is a polyphenolic nutrient found in common foods such as red wine, grapes, peanuts and some berries, including blueberries, bilberries and cranberries...

Resveratrol is well absorbed orally, but due to very rapid metabolism and elimination, it has a low bioavailability, compromising its medicinal properties to some extent. It naturally occurs in both a cis and trans from, although most of the recorded health benefits seem to be based on the trans form.

Animal studies on Resveratrol showed dramatic results for reducing the incidence of cancer, by acting directly on cancer cells, causing death. This is known as "apoptosis". These studies showed that the experimental subjects had far more cancer cell death than those subjects in control groups. These same studies also showed that Resveratrol inhibits proliferation of cancer cells, as well as tumour angiogenesis (the formation of new blood cells, literally feeding a tumour). The best results in terms of cancer treatment, seem to be with cancers in which the Resveratrol can come into direct contact. For this reason it may be particularly efficacious for gastrointestinal cancers, as well as skin cancers (if applied topically).

Resveratrol can also protect the heart and cardiovascular system. Its cardiovascular protecting effects come from it's ability to maintain the integrity of artery walls and to reduce viscosity of the blood, as shown in animal studies. It has been shown to reduce the risk of thrombosis or clot formation, as well as promote vasodilation. It has also been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory properties, making it a promising option in atherosclerosis prevention. Some researchers believe that Resveratrol is responsible for the "French Paradox", explaining why many French people can eat more fatty foods than North Americans, but suffer from heart attack and stroke less often. The thinking is that is may be due in part to a higher red wine consumption.

Resveratrol has also been shown to possess both estrogenic and anti estrogenic properties, based on the body's own levels and need. Similar to soy products, this may have an application in both estrogen dominant pathologies, as well as in such conditions as menopause, in which estrogen levels are low. There is also some promising research to suggest that Resveratrol may inhibit viruses, such as herpes simplex, varicella, influenza and others. Although animal studies have confirmed that Resveratrol can prevent and help to reverse free radical damage, since it is metabolized so quickly and there is no research currently suggesting that its metabolites have any medicinal properties, the powerful antioxidant claims may be slightly exaggerated. The antioxidant effect of Resveratrol is stronger when stabilized in supplement form.

The levels of Resveratrol used in all of these animal studies are far beyond levels that can be naturally reached through diet, nor is it safe or practical for people to drink enough red wine on a daily basis to have a significant health enhancing effect. It is for these reasons that supplementation is recommended. Nutritional supplements are usually made from Japanese knotweed, a concentrated plant source of Resveratrol. Many supplement companies will advertise that their Resveratrol products contain the equivalent of at least 20+ glasses of red wine. It is also important to note that currently there is very little research, based on clinical trials, supporting the efficacy of Resveratrol in humans.

Resveratrol supplementation should be avoided during pregnancy, although food based amounts are okay. Individuals taking anti-coagulation medications may have a higher risk of bleeding due to exaggerated anti-platelet activity when taken with Resveratrol. Use under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. Resveratrol can be found as a supplement in both capsule and liquid form, in varying concentrations.

1 comment:

nelidahua said...

I agree with you that Resveratrol supplements are gaining popularity because of their medicinal properties against diseases related to the heart. A supplement can contain more than 500 times the amount of Resveratrol compared to red grapes in their natural form. A good Resveratrol supplement will contain extracts of resveratrol roots , grape seeds and red wine ( but no alcohol). Many studies have shown that there may be a link Resveratrol supplements have also shown promise in preventing age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's.