INCREDIBLE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RESVERATROL
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
WHAT IS RESVERATROL?
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenolic fat-soluble compound and antioxidant that is often described as a modern-day fountain of youth. Studies associated with this antioxidant are so compelling that it is becoming one of the most favourite supplements as it shows a real promise of tremendous health benefits.
Resveratrol is one of the most unique among antioxidants because it can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect our brain and nervous system. Medical research gives enough evidence to assume resveratrol can be associated with numerous health benefits including protecting our cells against free radical damage, helping maintain strong heart and normal blood pressure, improving elasticity of our arteries, reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks, helping prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neuro-degenerative conditions, inhibiting the spread of cancer, and reducing problems related to various inflammations and chronic conditions.
Resveratrol is found mostly in the skin and leaves of grapes, some dark berries (such as blueberries and bilberries), red wine, or peanuts. Grapes and some other plants produce this antioxidant polyphenol as a defence against fungi. In grapes, significant concentrations of resveratrol are found only in the skin, seeds and leaves. The amount of resveratrol in grape skins depends on exposure to fungal infection, geographic origin and other factors.
Resveratrol content in wines is usually low and unpredictable. A much better food source of resveratrol seems to be dark grapes, all the more since their consumption doesn’t involve the risk of alcohol addiction. Muscadine grapes have the highest concentration of resveratrol in nature because of the thicker skins and seeds where it is concentrated. In addition, whole grapes contain other nutrients and active ingredients which are either much lower or absent in wine.
However, the consumption of even the best food sources of resveratrol may not be sufficient to produce the listed below health benefits due to the fact that in studies much higher concentrations of this antioxidant are used.
AGEING & LONGEVITY
Medical research indicates resveratrol has the ability to slow down the ageing process and increase the lifespans of numerous living organisms such as mice, fruit flies, or fish. Researchers from Harvard University have revealed that mice fed with resveratrol had a surprising 25% greater life expectancy than mice that were not given this powerful antioxidant. In addition, due to the daily intake of resveratrol the mice did not gain weight despite being on a high calorie and fat diet!
Newer scientific research suggests the same antioxidant may also increase the life span of human cells. It was discovered that resveratrol appears to slow down the effects of ageing by activating a gene called sirtuin. It is believed that the main function of the sirtuin enzyme is to increase our resistance to stress and the ability to survive. For example: in one very interesting trial scientists studied the influence of resveratrol on three groups of rats. Two of them were on the same unhealthy high fat diet, but only rats from one of these two groups received daily dose of resveratrol. The third was just a control group that was on a regular diet with no resveratrol added. According to the results of the experiment, the high fat diet group of rats that were deprived of resveratrol died prematurely and showed greater incidence of obesity and chronic diseases. On the other hand, the rats that were on the same high fat diet, but received resveratrol had the same life span and lower incidence of chronic diseases as the control group that was on a normal diet!
Researchers believe that the ability of resveratrol to prolong life is achieved as a result of activating a specific gene called SIRT1 which triggers various critical processes able to decrease the ageing rates.
ENERGY & ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE ENHANCER
It is believed that the current growing popularity of resveratrol as a supplement is due especially to its ability to reduce very common today chronic fatigue by increasing energy production. This assertion has been also repeatedly proven by the medical research. For instance, according to the conclusion of one of the trials, “Resveratrol protects against physical fatigue and improves exercise performance in mice.” In animal studies, resveratrol has been able to significantly increase treadmill running time. Also in humans resveratrol supplementation has improved athletic performance by increasing cardiovascular efficiency during exercise.
Resveratrol has shown the ability to induce activity of a PGC-1α protein resulting in improved mitochondrial development in the brain, heart and muscle tissue; thus reducing oxidative stress and increasing number and efficiency of the cell “power stations” (mitochondria). Consequently, with more mitochondria available in the muscle tissue more energy can be generated. This is also the reason why scientific research has suggested resveratrol can improve exercise endurance performance.
Various chronic diseases, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, are associated with nuclear factor kappa B and the proliferation of this and similar pro-inflammatory enzymes. Therefore, any compound able to reduce these factors may provide benefits for diabetes and some other common chronic diseases. And medical research gives evidence that resveratrol has the ability to reduce activation of the mentioned above pro-inflammatory protein complex (nuclear factor kappa B), indicating an anti-inflammatory effect in numerous chronic conditions including diabetes or arthritis, which has been confirmed in human trials.
DIABETES AND INSULIN RESISTANCE
Resveratrol can be also useful in fighting insulin resistance and normalising blood glucose levels. In randomized controlled trials, supplementation with resveratrol proved to be beneficial for individuals suffering from insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome as it significantly improved lipid and glucose metabolic disorders in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Resveratrol appears to be beneficial in promoting brain health and helping prevent various degenerative neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. We know that in Alzheimer’s amyloid protein plaques accumulate in the brain, inhibiting the production of nitric oxide synthase and causing a pathological increase of the p53 gene activity which triggers an extensive death of brain cells. Resveratrol, however, has been demonstrated an incredible ability to reduce the damage by suppressing p53 abnormal activity and thus protecting the nerve and brain cells.
HEART & CIRCULATION
Several randomized, placebo-controlled studies demonstrated that ingesting resveratrol supplements improved atherogenic and inflammatory status in participants who were at risk for cardiovascular disease as well as in subjects already diagnosed with established coronary heart disease.
Resveratrol has shown to be beneficial in increasing blood vessel dilation, improving blood circulation, and lowering the risk of atherosclerosis by both reducing the formation of fatty plaques in blood vessels and decreasing the excessive clotting of platelets. Interestingly, the ability of resveratrol to dilate blood vessels is attributed to an increase in nitric oxide signalling by the stimulation of potassium channels via calcium.
Numerous studies have demonstrated resveratrol’s ability to inhibit cancer development via more than one pathway. It can accomplish this task by reducing blood supply to tumours, preventing cancer cell proliferation, and inhibiting cyclooxygenase-1 and COX-2. For instance, in one study on mice with a neuroblastoma tumour a daily dose of 40mg of resveratrol per kg of body weight, increased survival of mice by up to 70%! In 1997 researchers observed that a topical application of this powerful antioxidant was able to reduce the number of skin tumours in mice by up to 98%!
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
Research also suggests long-term and high resveratrol intake can be effective in reducing toxicity caused by certain drugs or even increasing their efficacy.
A 2011 study demonstrated that resveratrol can inhibit development of endometriosis. According to the authors, resveratrol decreased the number of endometrial implants by 60% and decreased their total volume by 80%!
It has been shown resveratrol can stimulate the creation of adiponectin hormone which promotes metabolic health through improved lipid (fat) metabolism, regulation of blood glucose levels and weight loss.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the ability of resveratrol to fight with free radicals by reducing the oxidative stress damage. In a 2011 placebo-controlled study the participants on resveratrol experienced reduced oxidative damage which was expressed in the form of the lower levels of swelling and redness commonly associated with numerous age-related diseases.
According to one study resveratrol was able to increase levels of male sex hormone testosterone and positively influenced fertility and reproductive function in men, bone and muscle strength.
Also women who take resveratrol supplements may expect some benefits in the form of improved hormonal balance. A study of 34 postmenopausal women has shown taking 1 gram of resveratrol daily for three months resulted in significant improvements in oestrogen production and increased levels of steroid hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which improves the effectiveness of available sex hormones.
Resveratrol may also prevent tissue abnormalities associated with open-angle glaucoma.
RESVERATROL IN WINE & “FRENCH PARADOX”
We all have heard about the very popular claim according to which a glass of red wine each day can help strengthen the heart and maintain good health, even with less-than-ideal eating and lifestyle habits. It was postulated that resveratrol intake in the form of a moderate red wine consumption could explain why French people have lower incidence of CHD (coronary heart disease), in spite of the fact that their diet is high in saturated fat. But this positive effect doesn’t have to be attributed to wine because people living in France are also known to consume various cholesterol lowering foods such as artichoke and plenty of vegetables and fruits not mentioning other lifestyle factors that could be responsible for the so called “French Paradox”.
There is no doubt, some resveratrol can be found in red wine, but since it may contain only up to 14mg of resveratrol per litre (usually much less than that), we would need to drink several bottles of red wine each day in order to notice health benefits scientist attributed to resveratrol! And that is something we obviously shouldn’t recommend to anyone due to the high risk of addiction and various dangerous side effects associated with drunkenness.
The popular claim that the presence of resveratrol in red wine is responsible for producing positive cardiovascular effects among French people can’t be sustained by a proper medical research. There is no scientific evidence that the content of resveratrol in red wine is high enough to reduce the risk of heart disease or benefit patients with coronary heart disease. Health benefits of resveratrol, therefore, can be true only with regards to the supplements containing sufficient concentrations of highly bioavailable trans-form of this antioxidant.
Unfortunately, some studies suggest that the amount of resveratrol available in red wine and even skin and seeds of dark grapes doesn’t seem to be sufficient to produce a significant health benefits. Therefore, since the amount of resveratrol administered in experiments is always much higher than the levels of this antioxidant available from food sources a proper supplementation is recommended in order to achieve noticeable effects.
SAFETY AND SIDE EFFECTS
Supplementation with resveratrol is regarded as very safe. At least two studies demonstrated that even a very high daily dose of 4g and 5g taken over a period of few months resulted in no adverse effects.
QUALITY & BIOAVAILABILITY
Resveratrol is composed of two principal isomers: cis- and trans-resveratrol. And only the trans-form has been associated with health benefits. The cis isomer, on the other hand, can actually nullify the effects of trans-resveratrol! It is, therefore, very important to emphasise the fact that being high in the trans-resveratrol the HealthAid Resolife can offer high bioavailability and effectiveness.
Unless the label of the product indicates the amount of trans-resveratrol as the key active ingredient, it is highly probable that it is based on an inferior and poorly-bioavailable cis-resveratrol.
WHAT IS RESOLIFE?
HealthAid Resolife is a unique formula containing high quality Giant Knotweed extract which is one of the richest sources of a highly-bioavailable trans-form of resveratrol. Every capsule of HealthAid Resolife contains 250 mg of trans-resveratrol, which has much superior biological activity than the still commonly used cis form of resveratrol. Unfortunately, since it is not required to disclose the purity content on the label, it is not surprising many manufacturers offer products which are low in superior and expensive trans-resveratrol, and promote their poor quality formulas using misleading descriptions such as “Super Potency”, “Ultra Potent”, or “Extra Strength”.
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