Can Resveratrol Make You Live Longer?
Resveratrol is a particular chemical found to be naturally occurring in plants and foods with red skins, and also in some nuts. Scientists became interested in exploring potential health benefits of resveratrol when its presence was reported in red wine, leading to speculation that resveratrol might help explain the “French Paradox.” (the observation that mortality from coronary heart disease is relatively low in France despite relatively high levels of dietary saturated fat and cigarette smoking—lead to the idea that regular consumption of red wine might provide additional protection from cardiovascular disease. Red wine contains resveratrol and even higher levels of flavonoids).
The incidence of heart disease and cancer among populations who consume a lot of red wine is dramatically less than those that don't even though they may also have a high fat diet. Resveratrol has also been demonstrated to promote the formation of new dendrites in the brain. Resveratrol and the other bioflavonoids and polyphenols are present in large amounts in the leaves, twigs and bark of the grape vines. Result, red wine, which is fermented with the skins, seeds, twigs, etc. tends to contain much larger quantities of the beneficial substances than white wine which is fermented only from the pressed juice of the grape.
It has been suggested that Resveratrol assists in the elimination of:
- Heart Disease
- Stroke Risk
- Carcinogens of all types
- Effect of Radiation on the body
- Cellular Level dysfunction
- Brain and cell degeneration (Alzheimer’s)
- Lactic Acid Buildup
- Free Radicals & Dangerous Toxins, (about 20-50 times as effectively as vitamin C alone)
and the promotion of:
- Metabolic Rate (Fat Burning)
- Antioxidant Levels
- Good Cholesterol
- Natural Energy
Resveratrol Grape – Effect on Weight Loss
In addition to the well known antioxidant cancer-fighting effects of the resveratrol grape, it has been also found to have an impact on weight loss.
As 60 Minutes reported in January 2009, scientists across the country identified the substance in red wine called resveratrol that they believe might do more than just protect the heart, but could in very high concentrations significantly extend life by preventing a number of age related illnesses. Red wine is brimming with resveratrol. It is found in high concentrations in the skin of the grape, and seems to play a role in protecting it from invading bacteria and fungi.
Imagine for one moment that this proves to be right, it means we may all soon be taking a pill that could extend our lives by a healthy extra decade or more.
David Sinclair, a biochemist at Harvard, focused on a gene present in almost all life forms: the sirtuin gene. It's normally inactive, but when it is active, Sinclair believes it triggers a survival mechanism that extends life. Convinced that something in nature could activate that gene, Sinclair randomly tested thousands of compounds and got a hit: resveratrol.
So far, Resveratrol’s effects have been successfully tested only on rodents and cell cultures. In tests on rodents, Resveratrol has acted as an anti cancer agent, lowered blood sugar, increased cardiovascular function, removed brain plaque and lengthened overall life span due to the fact that its chemical structure activates what has been dubbed a ‘longevity’ gene. Since 2003, resveratrol has been shown to extend the lifespan of worms and flies by nearly 30 percent, and fish by almost 60 percent. It has also been shown to protect against Huntington's disease in two different animal models (worms and mice).
Those seeking to tap into the benefits of this natural drug can either drink red wine which contains Resveratrol, or take manufactured supplements which contain much higher doses of Resveratrol. Naturally it goes without saying that drinking loads of red wine in order to get any resveratrol health benefits could well be self defeating as too much alcohol is going to be very bad for you, so it is a good thing that you can buy supplements that contain resveratrol and of course you can always consume the relevant fruits and nuts that contain resveratrol in high levels (red grapes, eucalyptus, spruce, pomegranates, raspberries, blueberries, mulberries, peanuts, giant knotweed etc).
To get the health benefits of red wine without the negative impact of alcohol, you can purchase resveratrol and mixed red wine polyphenols in capsules. One capsule of red wine polyphenols is approximately equal to the polyphenol content of one bottle of wine. Resveratrol is the isolated component that is recognized as the source of the known health benefits of red wine. One to two capsules per day is the recommended dosage.
Cancer is, perhaps, the most dynamic area of resveratrol research. Resveratrol is the first natural medicinal to have solid evidence behind it showing that it blocks or stops many stages of cancer. Resveratrol not only prevents cancer, it’s being proposed as an additional treatment.
The number of studies has exploded in the past three years, with the depth of knowledge about this polyphenol increasing with each report. Resveratrol is a broad-spectrum agent that stops cancer in many diverse ways, from blocking estrogen and androgens to modulating genes.
Some of the latest information about it shows that resveratrol causes a unique type of cell death,and kills cancer cells whether they do or do not have the tumor suppressor gene, It also works whether cancer cells are estrogen receptor-positive or negative.
Scientists found that one way resveratrol fights cancer is by causing cancerous cells to destroy themselves. This “cell suicide” occurs because resveratrol inhibits the activity of a protein called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), which helps to nourish cancer cells and thus promote their development and survival.
Resveratrol has been shown to fight the following cancers in cell cultures and rodents:
- Breast (all types)
- Prostate (all types)
- Leukemia (various types)
- Metastasis to bone
- Lymphoma (various types)
Stroke Damage Prevention
Resveratrol has been shown to act as an anti inflammatory and also to protect against free radicals, both of which can be factors in a stroke. Additionally, the action of Resveratrol on the body’s enzymes determines how badly strokes affect the body. Mice that were dosed regularly with Resveratrol suffered less brain and motor damage after a stroke than those who were not treated with Resveratrol.
Resveratrol is effective in cutting down on free radicals, which are a major cause of Alzheimer’s. It protects the brain from free radicals and oxidized fats which kill brain cells, resulting in the decline of mental function associated with Alzheimer’s. Animals treated with Resveratrol were shown to have massively reduced brain plaque, which contributes to Alzheimer’s and other related diseases.
The weight loss effects that the resveratrol grape has are some of the most exciting for those who have struggled for a long time with losing weight through traditional avenues of diet and exercise. The problem is many times simple dietary changes are not enough if the body is hoarding stubborn fat in trouble areas that may include the stomach or thighs. These pockets of fat are caused by hormones, including estrogen. Resveratrol is different from other dietary supplements in that it actually directly acts on hormonal levels within the body, decreasing estrogen. Because estrogen is the culprit behind stubborn fat deposits, this leaves the body free to disperse the fat at last.
The resveratrol grape is a means of unlocking these hormonal doors to weight loss, while at the same time improving health levels overall, helping to prevent cancer, and fighting wrinkles on the face. Is it any wonder why this supplement has become such a hot seller in recent years! While side effects and other drawbacks are still being investigated, the early reports definitely look good. Current research keeps unveiling more and more promising secrets behind this exciting little antioxidant found naturally within the humble grape.
Do not take Resveratrol if:
You are a patient who has a blood disorder which can cause bleeding. In this situation you should be monitored by a physician while taking this product.
People undergoing surgery should stop taking resveratrol two weeks before the surgery and not take it for two weeks after the surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding.
Do not take resveratrol supplements or excessive amounts of natural foods containing resveratrol, while pregnant or breast-feeding. There is a lack of research in this area to prove safety.
Resveratrol should be avoided in children.
Resveratrol has mild estrogenic activity and until more is known, women with cancers and other conditions that are estrogen sensitive should seek medical advice before taking resveratrol.
Resveratrol reduces the activity of enzymes involved with drug metabolism but whether it has a significant effect in humans has not been studied.