Review of Resveratrol
- What is Resveratrol?
- Who Should Consider Taking Resveratrol?
- Summary of Reveratrols Physiological Effects
- Resveratrol Research
- Is Resveratrol effective?
- How to take Resveratrol
- Resveratrol Side Effects
- Resveratrol References
Resveratrol (3,4,5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene), is a naturally occuring plant polyphenol that is found in some foods such as grapes, red wine, billberry and peanuts.Resveratrol has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to have a number of positive health benefits including: reduced blood pressure, protection against artherosclerosis, reduced insullin levels & sensitivity, may reduce lipid accumulation and abdominal fat levels, may offer protection against a number of different cancers, and have a neuroprotective effect.
Resveratrol may be of benefit to anyone looking for a potent antioxidant to protect against the damaging effects of free-radicals and provide a number of research proven health benefits.
- Resveratrol improves a number of measures of cardiovascular health, including: reduced blood pressure, reduced artherosclerosis, reduced platelet aggregation, and may help to protect against heart failure.
- Resveratrol has a vasodillatory and enhances nitric oxide production
- Resveratrol has a chemopreventative effect on a number of different types of cancer by inhibiting the development, growth and proliferation of cancer cells
- There is evidence that resveratrol may have be beneficial for weight loss/weight management although further research is needed to confirm this in humans
- Resveratrol may be of benefit for the treatment of diabetes as it has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels
- Early animal studies have shown that resveratrol can extend lifespan, recent human studies have shown that resveratrol has favourable effects on plasma markers that predict increased risk of diabetes and shorter lifespan
- Resveratrol has been shown to reduce plasma markers of inflammation
- Recent research shows that resveratrol may be beneficial for some neurological disorders by decreasing neural cell death and lowering neurotoxicity of mutant proteins.
- Resveratrol may also be of benefit for osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and protection of the liver.
Reseveratrol has been shown to have a number of positive effects on cardiovascular health, including reduced artherosclerosis, reduced blood pressure and provides protection against cardiovascular disease and heart failure. One potential cardiovascular health benefit of resveratrol is its ability to prevent platelet aggregation (Szewczuk et al 2004; Shen et al., 2007). By protecting against/preventing platelet aggregation resveratrol can help to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Resveratrol is also known to have a vasodilatory effect (Li et al., 2000) and may offer protection against a number of different causes of hypertension, including, spontaneous hypertension, salt-induced hypertension and obesity induced hypertension (Vang et al., 2011). The vasodillatory effect of resveratrol is in part due to enhanced Nitric Oxide (NO) production. Resveratrol may also help to reduce the rate of artherosclerosis (Verschuren et al., 2011) and appears to help lower systolic blood pressure (Timmers et al., 2011).
Resveratrol and Cancer Prevention
Resveratrol has been shown to have chemopreventive activity and has the potential to inhibit the development, growth and spread of cancer cells. Animal studies have demonstrated that resveratrol has a strong chemopreventative action and may help to protect/prevent a number of different cancers, including: inhibition of skin cancers (Jang et al., 1997; Roy et al., 2009), suppresion of prostate cancers (Harper 2009), chemopreventative effect on breast cancer (Le Corre et al., 2005), inhibition of liver cancer (Bishayee and Dhi, 2009) and colon cancers (Patel et al., 2010).
Resveratrol is believed to exert its chemopreventative activity on a number of levels, including: inhibition of key enzymes, inhibition of available oestrogen and oestrogen receptor activity, regulation of apoptosis (the natural death of cells) of cancer, inhibition of cancer cell proliferation (growth and spreading), and interference with cancer cell survival.
Resveratrol and Weight Management
Resveratrol shows potential for the treatment of both obesity and diabetes (Szkudelska K & Szkudelski T, 2010). Animal studies have demonstrated that high doses of resveratrol were able to suppress seasonal gains in body weight (Dal-Pan et al., 2010). However, the doses used in this study were large - 200mg/kg body mass, equivalent to 14g of resveratrol in a 70kg human. Studies using smaller doses have failed to demonstrate significant reductions in bodymass. Lower dose studies have however demonstrated reductions in abdominal fat, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced blood glucose levels (Rivera et al., 2009; Vang et al., 2011).
Resveratrol and Lifespan
Resveratrol produces a number of changes that are associated with increased lifespan, including: increased insulin sensitivity, reduced insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) levels, improved mitochondrial function, maintenance of metabolic homeostasis, protect against insulin resistance, and reduces blood glucose levels. It has been shown to extend the lifespan and have a positive effect on aging in a number of different animal species (Gerhardt et al., 2011; Barger et al., 2008; Lagouge et al., 2006; Baur et al., 2006). A recent study in humans found that the consumption of resveratrol (150mg/day) over 30 days had a number of positive effects that may indicate a reduced risk of both diabetes and shortened lifespan (Timmers et al., 2011).
Resveratrol and Inflammation
Resveratrol has been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in a number of studies (Tili & Michaille 2011; Timmers et al., 2011; Vang et al., 2011; Zhong et al., 2011;). This is important since inflammatory responses are implicated in a number of diseases and conditions including: artherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegeneratory disorders like Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimers disease.
Resveratrol and Neurological Disorders
There is strong evidence that inflammation plays a key role in neurodegeneration. Since resveratrol possess anti-inflammatory properties and is known to pass through the blood brain barrier there has been considerable interest in the role that resveratrol could play in reducing/protecting against neuro-degeneration. Resveratrol shows promise in the treatment of a number of neurological disorders - possibly through its anti-oxidant, anti-neuroinflammatory activity including the inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes and cytokines, and producing a protective effect against neurotoxicity (Zhong et al., 2012; Kim et al., 2007; Foti et al., 2011). In fact research suggests that it produces neuroprotection against a number of neurological disorders, possibly by repressing expression of neurotoxic proinflammatory mediators and cytokines, and it may protect against the death of neuron’s and Beta amyloid (Aβ) neurotoxicity (Zhong et al., 2012; Kim et al., 2007). Resveratrol shows potential in neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (Shindler et al., 2010), Huntington’s disease (Maher et al., 2010), Parkinsons disease (Zhang et al., 2010) and may also help to support the healthy aging of the brain (Oomen et al., 2009).
Other Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Reseveratrol has many other promising health benefits, too many to discuss in this one review. Some of the other areas that Reveratrol may benefit include: Osteoporosis (Rayalan et al., 2011), rheumatoid arthritis (Nakayama et al., 2010), protection against liver disease (Bishayee et al., 2010) and suppression of colitis (Hosfeth et al., 2010).
Resveratrol appears to be effective at improving measures of cardiovascular health, lowering blood glucose and insulin levels, enhancing insulin sensitivity, lowering inflammation levels, and enhancing anti-oxidant status. Resveratrol also has the ability to inhibit a number of different types of cancers, has a neuro-protective effect through its anti-neuroinflammatory activity, and has the potential to enhance weight loss/management. However, further research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of Resveratrol on Cancers, neuro-degeneration, and weight loss in humans.
Most of the studies to date have used wide ranges of resveratrol dosage making it difficult to establish an effective dose in humans. However, it appears that a dose of around 150mg/day is sufficient to have positive effects on blood pressure, blood glucose, insulin, and mitochondria (Timmers et al., 2011). Whereas higher doses (~500mg-1000mg) may be sufficient to have anticarcinogenic effects on colon and rectal cancers (Patel et al., 2010).
Resveratrol appears to be safe and free of serious side effects when taken over a range of doses (500mg-5,000mg) over a short term period (Brown et al., 2010). However, if you have any pre-existing medical condition, are pregnant, under 18, are taking blood thinning medication, or supplements, or have any concerns please consult appropriate medical advice before taking resveratrol.
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