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Resveratrol & Weight Loss - Reviews

Updated on March 22, 2012
Natural sources of resveratrol.
Natural sources of resveratrol.

Can you lose weight with resveratrol?

There has been a lot in the news recently about resveratrol, a natural phytoalexin that has powerful effects on health and longevity. Of course, with every new supplement that garners a lot of media attention, claims by hucksters abound. And, of course, with the percentage of overweight Americans now well over 60%, weight loss is a health topic on many people's minds.

Can resveratrol help you lose weight? Possibly. But let's see where this idea came from, and why resveratrol is still a good supplement to consider taking, especially if you are overweight, even if the weight loss claim remains to be proven.

Resveratrol, a naturally-occurring substance found in grape skins, Japanese knotweed, peanuts, and other plants, is used by plants to ward off fungal attack, and is found in higher quantities among plants in damp, mold-friendly environments (this is why wines from Bordeaux in France, Willamette Valley in Oregon, and the Finger Lakes region of New York have higher resveratrol levels in their red wines than those from Napa and Sonoma in California).

Through a mechanism scientists are still struggling to understand, resveratrol triggers the SIRT1 gene in the human body. Activation of this gene has been understood to have the following results:

  • improved function of the cellular mitochondria, the organelle responsible for converting foodstuffs into energy.
  • protection from the loss of neurons (brain cells) through degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • protection from cellular stress, by boosting heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), which prevents cells from degenerating in the face of pollutants, temperature variations, bacteria and viral attack, too little oxygen, and other stressors
  • extended longevity (lifespan), in everything from single-celled yeast to mice. Resveratrol specifically has been responsible for the longer lives in test animals.
  • boosted endurance, in studies of mice.

Also, because it can chelate (bind) copper, resveratrol has been shown to reduce amyloid plaques (like those that cause Alzheimer's Disease) in rodent models.

CBS News story: Wine Rx

The key behind resveratrol's weight loss promise

The reason resveratrol is expected by some to help with weight loss is the fact that activation of SIRT1 makes your metabolic system more efficient. In people with naturally higher expressions of SIRT1, scientists found faster metabolisms, suggesting that a natural SIRT1-booster like resveratrol could cause the metabolism to rev higher.

Poking around the Web, naturally, you see plenty of anecdotes, although without the rigor of double-blind studies, it's difficult to separate out the effect of concurrent changes in diet and physical activity from those associated with resveratrol.

However, regardless of whether the impact of resveratrol on weight loss is significant enough to merit attention, it's worth pointing out a few other important facts about resveratrol that pertain to health:

  • in studies with mice, obese mice treated with resveratrol lived as long as normal-weight mice, much longer than obese mice without the benefit of resveratrol. The treated obese mice did not suffer from obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease than their untreated test subjects contracted and often died from.
  • Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a drug company bought by GlaxoSmithKline, announced in early 2008 that its first drug designed to treat type-2 (adult onset) diabetes, SRT501, was showing encouraging results in early trials. SRT501, like other drug candidates in Sirtris' portfolio, was developed to trigger the SIRT1 gene.
  • a study of obese rats found that resveratrol countered the negative effects of a high-fat diet, and reduced systolic (blood pressure) readings.
  • resveratrol has demonstrated anti-cancer effects in studies, preventing the growth and, in some cases, causing the retreat, of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. It is believed that resveratrol disables nuclear factor-kappa B, a protein needed for tumor growth, thereby allowing cancer sell apoptosis (tumor cell suicide).

Resveratrol Dosage

How much should you take? Dr Mehmet Oz, Oprah's doctor, suggests taking up to 500 mg of resveratrol per day. Dr Oz recommends resveratrol, but does not endorse any particular brand. It's best to do your research and buy from a reputable company.

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    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I recently purchased Resveratrol in the hopes of boosting my metabolism, to lose 10 # and for better health. It didn't seem to help with weight loss or metabolism. I think I will simply get what I need from the foods I eat. Thanks for the excellent article (hub).

    • GaryWilson profile image

      GaryWilson 7 years ago from Munich Germany

      Thank you. Great articles.

    • detoxexpert profile image

      detoxexpert 7 years ago from oxfordshire

      Excellent unbiased advice about Resveratrol. I've been thinking about introducing this supplement but have heard from a friend in Canada that in certain circumstances it can make people "hyperactive" and prone to the "shakes". Has anyone else experienced anything like this. Grateful for any advice.

      Thanks

      Lee

    • alfasentari profile image

      alfasentari 7 years ago

      Interesting info. It makes me want to look further into resveratrol. Thanks for a great Hub!

    • healthyliving10 profile image

      Jodi Patfield 7 years ago from Canada

      great info! Thanks.

    • MikeNV profile image

      MikeNV 8 years ago from Henderson, NV

      The ONLY thing that will help anyone to lose weight is to eat right and consume less calories than they take in. There is no magic pill. Weight is a function of Caloric intake. Your body needs energy, food provides the energy. Consume too much and it will store it. It amazes me that people can not grasp this simple concept. It's the laws of nature at work. So they go and look for a "pill" to solve their problems. And greedy marketers make billions off of diverting people away from natural principals.

    • profile image

      Acai 8 years ago

      Nothing like sticking around for another fifty years so we can truly be part of the solution or...Endure the Problem!

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 8 years ago from New York

      Interesting, I have been reading a lot about this product as of late but so remain skeptical of the hype of anything until it is proven. You do make sense about where the ingredients originate and how it could only stand to reason that it would be potentially beneficial even if the weight loss claims are false. Thank you for a well researched and well written hub.

    • Hery Yansen profile image

      Hery 8 years ago

      Good hubs ... keep writin ...

    • Womens Ab Workout profile image

      Womens Ab Workout 8 years ago

      Thanks for the great article - just did a paper for school on Resveratrol - wish I had found this earlier!

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Livelonger, thanks for this information about links between Resveratrol and improved metabolism. I love red grapes and so does my entire family. However, I have reservations about taking a supplement with a dosage much higher than that found in natural fruit and traditional products made from fruit.

    • The Good Cook profile image

      The Good Cook 8 years ago

      I had not heard about Resveratrol until reading this...thanks for the review and information.

    • livelonger profile image
      Author

      Jason Menayan 8 years ago from San Francisco

      Yes, ocbill, that seems to be true. Dr Oz said you'd have to drink dozens of bottles of red wine to get the longevity benefit seen in studies.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Good information. I read somewhere that you need it in asupplemental form instead of the pure food form because it would simply not be enough.

    • profile image

      jay3p 8 years ago

      I guess we better get seriously committed to cleaning up our ecological environments,eh? Nothing like sticking around for another fifty years so we can truly be part of the solution or...Endure the Problem!

    • vic profile image

      vic 8 years ago

      Good review. Thank you.

    • TotalHealth profile image

      TotalHealth 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach, CA

      Nice overview of the potential benefits.