Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found in the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and other fruits. It is also present in significant amounts in red wine. However, one of the richest sources of resveratrol is the Japanese knotweed, a plant that is often considered an invasive species.
The compound was first identified by Japanese scientist Michio Takaoka in the Veratrum album (white hellebore) plant in 1940. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that interest in resveratrol as a possible health promoting compound really took off, largely due to observations regarding the so-called “French Paradox” – the observation that French people, despite consuming a diet relatively high in saturated fats, have a lower incidence of heart disease. This was hypothesized to potentially be related to their consumption of red wine, which is rich in resveratrol.
I myself, honestly, doubt that the French paradox is largely due to resveratrol. From a psychosomatic perspective, heart diseases can be caused by a lack of love, and the French are certainly not lacking in this department 🙂 especially with their wine.
The chemical formula for resveratrol is C14H12O3. It is a type of natural phenol and a phytoalexin produced by several plants in response to injury or when the plant is under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi.
An intriguing observation has been made by some scientists, suggesting that living organisms, under unfavorable conditions, transition from their normal patterns of reproduction and growth towards a program focused on longevity. This is somewhat comparable to the process humans undergo during brief periods of fasting. Thus, by consuming resveratrol, we may be effectively drinking a kind of ‘elixir of longevity’.
Resveratrol is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially supporting heart health and preventing certain cancers. It may protect the brain, aiding cognitive health and possibly slowing neurodegenerative diseases. Preliminary research suggests it could have anti-aging effects and help control blood sugar levels.
Human trials studying the impact of resveratrol on various health conditions have been conducted since the late 2000s. These trials have sought to understand the effects of resveratrol on cardiovascular health, cognitive diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Results have been mixed, showing potential benefits in areas such as improved antioxidant capacity and modulated neuroinflammation. However, inconsistent findings have been reported for its effects on type 2 diabetes, endothelial function, inflammation, and cardiovascular markers.
Resveratrol is a nutraceutical with several therapeutic effects. It has been shown to mimic effects of caloric restriction, exert anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects…https://www.nature.com/articles/s41698-017-0038-6/
Resveratrol is reported to exhibit antioxidant properties that aid in protecting the body against damage from free radicals, thus potentially reducing the risk of various diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers. Resveratrol’s effects on longevity might also be attributed to its ability to activate certain proteins called sirtuins, which play significant roles in aging processes. Some studies have suggested that the benefits of resveratrol might be similar to those of caloric restriction, which has been shown to extend lifespan in various organisms. This has led to the idea that resveratrol could potentially mimic the effects of caloric restriction without the need for reducing food intake.
Additionally, it’s been studied for its potential to improve insulin sensitivity and promote healthy blood sugar levels, aspects crucial for metabolic health.
While resveratrol is generally considered safe for most people, it can cause side effects in some cases, especially when consumed in large doses. Common side effects can include digestive problems such as nausea, stomach cramps, or diarrhea. It may also cause headaches in some individuals. There have also been some reports of a paradoxical effect where high doses of resveratrol may actually promote oxidative stress instead of mitigating it. Furthermore, it can potentially interact with blood thinners like warfarin, and other drugs metabolized by certain liver enzymes. This could increase the risk of bleeding.
A prominent figure who advocates for the use of resveratrol is David Sinclair. He is a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging. Sinclair has conducted extensive research on resveratrol and its potential benefits for health and longevity. He has written books and appeared on many media platforms to discuss his findings. He also co-founded a biotech company that aimed to develop drugs based on resveratrol and other molecules with potential anti-aging effects.
In the video below, Dr. Sinclair explains why he has been taking resveratrol since he was 34 years old. He mentions that resveratrol is a core part of his life and that it enhances the body’s ability to repair itself and protects organs. He also notes that resveratrol has shown benefits in lowering blood sugar levels, which he believes is important for overall longevity. He emphasizes that resveratrol is a very safe molecule that has been in our diet for thousands of years.
While David Sinclair is perhaps the most prominent figure, there are other researchers who have made significant contributions to the study of resveratrol. Joseph Baur, an Associate Professor of Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania, has conducted extensive research into the impact of resveratrol on metabolism and its potential as a treatment for diseases associated with aging. Another notable figure is Dr. Rafael de Cabo, a senior investigator at the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, who has conducted various studies on the impacts of resveratrol, especially in relation to diet and longevity.
A new study gives insight into how resveratrol—a compound found in grapes, red wine, and nuts—may ward off several age-related diseases. The findings could help in the development of drugs to curtail some of the health problems that arise as we get older.https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-resveratrol-may-fight-aging
The recommended dosage of resveratrol varies greatly depending on the individual’s health status and the purpose of supplementation. For general health benefits, some researchers suggest doses around 150-500 mg per day, while for specific conditions like heart health or blood sugar control, the dosage may be higher. It’s also worth noting that in some studies showing benefits, very high doses were used — in the range of grams per day — but these are not commonly recommended due to potential side effects and the lack of long-term safety data at these doses. David Sinclair has publicly stated that he personally takes 1 gram of resveratrol per day with a day off every couple of weeks to give his liver a chance to rest.
The efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of resveratrol have been documented in over 244 clinical trials, with an additional 27 clinical trials currently ongoing.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30741437/
In terms of timing, resveratrol is often taken in divided doses throughout the day with meals to enhance absorption. Some evidence suggests that it may be better absorbed when taken with a meal containing some fat, given its fat-soluble nature. Some people take resveratrol in combination with other supplements. For example, it’s sometimes combined with other antioxidants, such as quercetin or pterostilbene, which are thought to have complementary effects.
The bioavailability of resveratrol can be relatively low, so many supplements contain a modified form of the compound called trans-resveratrol, which is thought to be better absorbed. It’s also often paired with other ingredients like piperine (black pepper extract) to further enhance absorption.
Resveratrol is available in various forms for supplementation:
- Capsules or Tablets: This is the most common form of resveratrol supplement available on the market. These can contain either pure resveratrol or a blend of resveratrol and other ingredients.
- Powder: Resveratrol can also be found in a powder form which can be mixed into food or drink.
- Liquid: Liquid forms of resveratrol are also available, usually as a tincture or in liquid capsules.
- Softgels: Resveratrol can also come in softgel form. Like capsules, these can contain either pure resveratrol or a blend with other ingredients.
When taken orally, resveratrol is quickly metabolized and eliminated from the body, which can limit its effectiveness. There is a micronized version of resveratrol. Micronization is a process that reduces the particle size of a substance. This process could potentially improve the bioavailability of the compound, meaning it might be more efficiently absorbed and used by your body.
Contrary to NMN, there were no known bans on resveratrol. Given its popularity and widespread use, it is likely still readily available in most parts of the world in 2023. Resveratrol supplements can typically be purchased over-the-counter in health food stores, pharmacies, and from online retailers.
What do customers say?
Customers say that Resveratrol supplements have been beneficial in various ways. Some users on Amazon have praised its anti-aging support and effectiveness in providing radiant skin. On Reddit, users have discussed potential benefits for skin health. Viewers of Dr. Dray’s YouTube video on Resveratrol have shared positive experiences with Resveratrol products, particularly highlighting improvements in skin health, anti-aging, and hyperpigmentation.
Questions and Answers
No, resveratrol and CoQ10 are not the same; they are distinct compounds with different structures, sources, and roles in the body. Resveratrol is often marketed as an anti-aging supplement due to its potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have suggested it might have health benefits such as reducing the risks of heart disease and cancer, but more extensive research is needed. CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10), also known as ubiquinone, has antioxidant properties. CoQ10 supplements are often used to help manage conditions related to heart health, such as congestive heart failure and recovery from heart surgery.
Studies have shown that resveratrol can be taken daily in moderate amounts (up to 500 mg/day) without causing serious side effects. However, the long-term effects of resveratrol supplementation are not fully understood, and the optimal dosage has not been clearly established.
Resveratrol taken in combination with a standard breakfast can increase its concentration in blood. However, a high-fat diet might reduce its absorption. Its administration in combination with other plant polyphenols or compounds found in red wine was thought to increase absorption. Piperine, the active compound found in pepper, increased the levels of resveratrol in the blood significantly in animal studies.
Another way to increase the bioavailability of resveratrol is through micronization. Micronization is a process that reduces the particle size of a substance, which can increase its surface area and improve its solubility in water. This, in turn, can enhance its absorption in the digestive tract.
Micronized resveratrol, therefore, is expected to have a higher bioavailability than non-micronized forms.
While resveratrol is safe for most, caution is advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with hormone-sensitive conditions, and those with kidney disease. Additionally, it might interfere with blood clotting, which poses a risk for individuals undergoing surgery or on certain medications.
While it’s true that red wine contains resveratrol, it’s important to note that drinking wine solely for the resveratrol content is not generally recommended. The amount of resveratrol in a glass of wine is relatively small, and the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption far outweigh the potential benefits of resveratrol.
Resveratrol has antioxidant properties that can help protect skin from damage caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to the sun and pollution, which contribute to aging and wrinkles. A 2010 research review indicated that the free radical molecules that resveratrol fights against can create the effects of aging in skin and can damage any cell in the body. It’s also been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to stimulate collagen production, a protein that helps keep skin firm and elastic.
However, the ability of resveratrol to “reverse” wrinkles is not entirely clear. While some laboratory and animal studies have suggested potential benefits, human research is more limited.
It has been suggested that resveratrol could potentially aid in muscle growth, although the specific mechanisms and extent of this effect are still being studied. Some animal and in vitro studies suggest that resveratrol may have a positive impact on muscle function and endurance. One mechanism could be through its antioxidant properties, as oxidative stress can affect muscle function and recovery. Another hypothesis is that resveratrol may influence mitochondrial function, potentially improving muscle energy production.
Some animal studies and preliminary human research suggest that resveratrol might have the ability to increase testosterone levels. For instance, a study published in the journal “Nutrition” in 2012 found that taking a resveratrol supplement for a month led to a significant increase in testosterone levels in healthy men. However, other research has yielded less definitive results.
An article on T NATION suggests that resveratrol reduces inflammation, improves testosterone levels, reduces estrogen and estradiol, is cardio-protective, and may increase fat oxidation. They note that while the majority of the evidence is from animal and cell studies, there’s substantial support for these benefits.
The TestoFuel Blog states that resveratrol appears to boost male hormone levels by directly increasing testosterone levels and by decreasing aromatization. They reference a study published in the Archives of Pharmacol Research that found that when mice were given a large dose of resveratrol, their testosterone levels went up by 51.6%.
Nootriment also suggests that resveratrol seems to increase testosterone levels in the blood and may be an agonist for androgen receptors. They also note that resveratrol has an anti-aromatase effect on testosterone, meaning that it does not get converted into estrogen at the same rate.
Resveratrol is a type of phytoestrogen, that can have effects in the body similar to estrogen, a primary female sex hormone. Resveratrol’s relationship with estrogen is complex. It appears to have both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties, depending on the context:
A study found that resveratrol can bind to the nuclear estrogen receptor (ER) and modulate its genomic activity. It can also interact with membrane-bound ER and modulate non-genomic estrogenic activities.
An article from Harvard Health states that resveratrol is chemically related to estrogen. In some situations, high doses of resveratrol can boost the activity of estrogen, while in others, they can block estrogen. This makes resveratrol supplements potentially problematic for women with estrogen-sensitive tissue cancers, those trying to become pregnant, or those taking an oral contraceptive.
Xtend-Life mentions that resveratrol is a weak phytoestrogen and binds to both alpha and beta estrogen receptors. However, its affinity for these receptors is significantly less than that of estrogen itself.
WebMD advises against the use of resveratrol if you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen.
Some animal and in vitro studies have suggested that resveratrol could potentially help in burning fat by improving metabolic function and stimulating the breakdown of fat. For example, research has shown that resveratrol can stimulate the formation of a type of fat called “brown fat,” which burns calories to generate heat.
An article from Shape mentions that while there’s evidence about resveratrol’s exercise benefits, claims that the supplement helps people lose or maintain weight are harder to substantiate. Some proponents suggest that resveratrol may interact with blood sugar, which could potentially influence weight.
WebMD states that resveratrol might have many effects in the body, including potential benefits for hay fever and weight loss.
A ScienceDaily article reports on a study that found resveratrol reduces the accumulation of triglycerides, which could potentially contribute to fat reduction.
Resveratrol may potentially help in maintaining the health and longevity of existing collagen by combating oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to inflammation and damage in the body’s cells, including those that produce collagen, which is a critical component of skin health. This indirect role in collagen health and maintenance is why you might find resveratrol in some skincare products.
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, and some research suggests it might have potential benefits for skin health. In vitro and animal studies have shown that resveratrol can fight oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are involved in skin conditions such as acne. Additionally, its antioxidant properties can help protect the skin from environmental damage that can lead to premature aging and other skin problems.
In preclinical studies (lab and animal models), resveratrol has demonstrated anti-diabetic effects. It is believed to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidative stress, and decrease inflammation, which are all critical components of diabetes management. It has been found to improve glucose homeostasis, decrease insulin resistance, and protect pancreatic β-cells in animal models. Some preliminary human trials also indicate its effectiveness in improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients. In diabetic rats, resveratrol significantly reduced glucose levels and improved cardiac function, reducing ischemic injury and cell death in the heart. A study found that long-term administration of resveratrol improved hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia in diet-induced diabetic mice. Resveratrol administration was found to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes in a specific mouse model.
Aging can cause hair loss and graying, and resveratrol might help just as much as it does for the rest of your skin. It also helps keep your arteries clear and your blood flowing properly, which could indirectly benefit hair health. Resveratrol might improve overall cardiovascular health, which promotes full body wellness. This could reduce the effect/onset of age-related issues including hair loss. It also has anti-inflammatory attributes that could combat the negative impacts of inflammation on hair loss. A consequence of chronic inflammatory process, perifollicular fibrosis, is constantly present in alopecia. Resveratrol might have effects on this process. Taking resveratrol for hair loss is generally safe and well-tolerated.
In comparison to other antioxidants, resveratrol has been found to have effective reducing power, a measure of antioxidant effect, when compared to standards like butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyacetone (BHA), α-tocopherol, and trolox.
While resveratrol receives a lot of attention as a polyphenolic nutraceutical, other compounds with similar structures may be more potent regulators of specific cellular processes. For example, compounds like apigenin, chrysin, genistein, luteolin, myricetin, piceatannol, pterostilbene, and quercetin have been compared for their ability to regulate Notch signaling, a cellular process.
Preliminary research suggests that resveratrol might have neuroprotective effects, potentially helping to protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of resveratrol in individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease found that resveratrol was safe and well-tolerated. It also showed that resveratrol and its major metabolites penetrated the blood-brain barrier to have central nervous system effects. However, the study noted that further studies are required to interpret the biomarker changes associated with resveratrol treatment.
Another study demonstrated that resveratrol induced complete protection against memory loss and brain pathology in AD transgenic mice and also induced cognitive enhancement in healthy mice. The study suggested that improvement of proteostasis by resveratrol, in both healthy and AD mice, could be a mechanism of brain resilience and defense against neurodegeneration caused by the accumulation of aberrant proteins.
Resveratrol is a fascinating compound that has garnered significant attention for its potential health benefits. It has been studied for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential anti-aging properties. While research is ongoing, early findings suggest that resveratrol may offer a range of health benefits, from supporting heart health to potentially slowing the progression of certain diseases. However, it’s important to remember that while resveratrol shows promise, it is not a magic bullet for health and longevity. A balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a healthy lifestyle remain the cornerstones of good health.
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