Resveratrol is found naturally in red grapes, red wine, peanuts and some berries. It is also sold as a supplement and has been the subject of research into whether this polyphenol plant compound has health benefits due to its antioxidant properties.
Supporting research & information
Reservatrol is a trihydroxy stilbene derivative C10H12O3 that is found in some plants, fruits, seeds, and grape-derived products (as red wine) and has been linked to a reduced risk of coronary disease and cancer.
Possible benefits of Resveratrol
Many of the headlines about the possible anti-ageing and disease fighting possibilities for resveratrol have come from laboratory or animal studies rather than evidence from trials involving humans. Some of the conditions that early research suggests resveratrol might help protect against include:
Heart disease. Studies suggest resveratrol may help reduce inflammation, prevent the oxidation of LDL "bad" cholesterol, and make it more difficult for platelets to stick together and form the clots that can lead to heart attacks.
Cancer. Resveratrol is thought by some researchers to limit the spread of cancer cells and trigger the process of cancer cell death (apoptosis).
Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol may protect nerve cells from damage and the build-up of plaque that can lead to Alzheimer's.
Diabetes. Studies suggest resveratrol may help prevent insulin resistance, a condition in which the body becomes less sensitive to the effects of the blood sugar-lowering hormone, insulin. Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes.
Studies on rodents suggest that resveratrol might even help combat some of the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle and lead to increased longevity. Resveratrol-treated mice fed a high- calorie diet lived longer than similarly fed mice not given resveratrol. Resveratrol protected mice fed a high- calorie diet from obesity-related health problems by mimicking the effects of caloric restriction.
More research is needed in all of these areas that remain scientifically unproven.
Because there have been very few studies conducted on resveratrol in humans, doctors cannot confirm any benefits, and they do not know what effects these supplements might have on people in the long term. So far, studies have not discovered any severe side effects, even when resveratrol is taken in large doses. However, resveratrol supplements might interact with blood thinners such as warfarin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, increasing the risk of bleeding.
Because studies remain inconclusive and insufficient it is difficult for consumers to know exactly what they are getting when they buy the product, or whether it is actually effective. There is also no specific dosage recommendation, and dosages can vary from supplement to supplement.
The dosages in most resveratrol supplements are typically far lower than the amounts that have been shown beneficial in research studies. Most supplements contain 250 to 500mg of resveratrol. To get the equivalent dose used in some animal studies, people would have to consume 2g of resveratrol (2,000mg) or more a day.
Research published in 2013 in the Journal of Physiology suggested that resveratrol could offset the health benefits of exercise in older men. Resveratrol supplements counteracted the health effects of exercise on blood pressure, fat in the blood and oxygen in the body.
Until more high-quality research is available, most doctors are unlikely to recommend resveratrol supplements for anti-ageing or disease prevention.
Interactions with other drugs and medications
Drug interaction studies with resveratrol have not been conducted. The probable interaction with blood thinners should be taken into consideration. Patients taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, warfarin, or clopidogrel should advise their doctor that they are taking resveratrol. Additionally, patients should always inform their health care providers of any dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications they use.
If you've heard that red wine can help lower cholesterol, chances are you've heard of resveratrol — the much-hyped plant compound found in red wine.
But beyond being a healthful part of red wine and other foods, resveratrol has health-boosting potential in its own right.
In fact, resveratrol supplements have been linked to many exciting health benefits, including protecting brain function and lowering blood pressure (1, 2, 3, 4).
This article explains what you need to know about resveratrol, including seven of its main potential health benefits.
What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant. The top food sources include red wine, grapes, some berries and peanuts (5, 6).
This compound tends to be concentrated mostly in the skins and seeds of grapes and berries. These parts of the grape are included in the fermentation of red wine, hence its particularly high concentration of resveratrol (5, 7).
However, much of the research on resveratrol has been done in animals and test tubes using high amounts of the compound (5, 8).
Of the limited research in humans, most has focused on supplemental forms of the compound, in concentrations higher than those you could get through food (5).
SUMMARY:Resveratrol is an antioxidant-like compound found in red wine, berries and peanuts. Much of the human research has used supplements that contain high levels of resveratrol.
4. It Protects the Brain
Several studies have suggested that drinking red wine can help slow down age-related cognitive decline (21, 22, 23, 24).
This may partly be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of resveratrol.
It seems to interfere with protein fragments called beta-amyloids, which are crucial to forming the plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (21, 25).
Additionally, the compound may set off a chain of events that protects brain cells from damage (21).
While this research is intriguing, scientists still have questions about how well the human body is able to make use of supplemental resveratrol, which limits its immediate use as a supplement to protect the brain (1, 2).
SUMMARY:A potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, resveratrol shows promise in protecting brain cells from damage.
The Bottom Line
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant with great potential.
It's shown promise regarding a variety of health conditions, including heart disease and arthritis. However, clear dosage guidance is still lacking.