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Benefits and Drawbacks of Resveratrol

Updated on May 31, 2009

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Benefits and Drawbacks of Resveratrol


How Might Resveratrol Affect Your Health?


Background

Resveratrol, a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables, has been touted as an anti-aging, anti-cancer, and a cardio protective dietary supplement.  Resveratrol is one of the protective chemical compounds that plants produce to protect themselves from pathogens found in insect attacks and microbial infections.

When it was observed that the French have very low heart disease rates despite  consuming high levels of saturated fats (known as the French Paradox), research revealed that the resveratrol found in the skin of red grapes  that was part of red wine production may be the reason the French have a surprisingly high resistance to many diseases.

Claims Made by Promoters of Resveratrol


The health industry has been abuzz with the touted benefits of resveratrol. Several benefits of Resveratrol are listed as follows:

Resveratrol acts as an anti-oxidant, removing free radicals that damage human cells.

Resveratrol helps memory retention.  It activates an anti-aging gene that lies dormant in our body.

Resveratrol is a natural anti-inflammatory and prevents inflamed blood cells from clogging arteries, thereby reducing cardiovascular diseases.

Resveratrol is  an anti-coagulant which helps prevent blood platelets from clotting and blocking cerebral arteries, thereby reducing the risk of  a stroke.

Resveratrol  prevents obesity by working on triglycerides that deposit in fat cells, preventing massive build-ups. This reduces hypertension, diabetes, and heart ailments.

Resveratrol  may prevent and treat cancer by destroying cancerous cells and inhibiting cancer tumour growth.

So, does it mean that a glass of red wine keeps the doctor away ? The advent of powerful resveratrol supplements allow us to get a higher concentration of the antioxidant without the drawbacks of alcohol.

The list of proclaimed benefits above certainly makes resveratrol  seem like a wonder drug.  Is it too good to be true ? What does current research tell us?

Effects of Resveratrol On Your Health


Research conducted on mice produced inconsistent results. For example, oral intake of resveratrol affects one kind of tumor development but not another. Effects on the hearts of mice have been varied, unpredictable and unreliable.

Research into the properties of resveratrol has been limited to human cells on a petri dish and are inconclusive.

The daily intake of resveratrol for humans cannot be established. The amount of resveratrol given to laboratory mice for it to have any beneficial impact would translate to about 300 glasses of wine daily. The human body clearly cannot cope with this level of consumption.

Resveratrol inhibits vitamin and mineral absorption. Evidence from the European Journal Nutrition 46, 2007 reveals that high doses of resveratrol hinder the absorption of folic acid. Bill Sardi, a spokesperson for Longevinex, said that dosing yourself excessively with resveratrol can bring about anemia, achilles tendonitis, numbness in the fingers, and anxiety.

Conflicting research findings do not bring certainty to the properties of resveratrol. Researchers often disagree with the results obtained from other research, and results seem to vary from study to study, depending on the sponsor of the research.

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