What Are The Health Benefits Of Resveratrol?
Dementia and memory problems are becoming increasingly prevalent as baby-boomers age, and there are a great many natural products coming on to the market to support brain function. In this regard something that has been seemingly overlooked are the extensive benefits of resveratrol.
This is partly because resveratrol has gotten so much attention for its long list of other benefits including:
- blood sugar lowering / antidiabetic
- cardiovascular support
- vision support
- hormone and estrogen regulating effects in both sexes
- immune support
- major kidney protection
- lung protection
- liver detoxification
- protection against radiation
- improved functionality as one ages
and more.... all without side-effects! (See references below)
Though this may sound sensational, be clear that behind the scenes resveratrol it is the subject of intense scientific scrutiny in an effort to understand the mechanisms underlying its myriad of benefits, with the end-goal being drug development.(1)
To understand how Resveratrol can positively affect so many aspects of health and functionality consider that it strongly counteracts the root causes of chronic disease, i.e. inflammation and oxidation. It does this not in a direct or surface way, but at a very deep cellular level by stimulating a profoundly protective pathway called the Nrf2 ("nerf-2") pathway, and by inducing gene repair elements called Situins. (1) Once activated, the pathway causes your genes to manufacture extremely potent antioxidant enzymes, helps you transport and use oxygen more effectively, help clear acidic wastes, and reduces inflammation among an absolute plethora of positive actions. (1-4)
The extensive effects of the Nrf2 pathway have been discusseed in these past articles...5 Top Natural Skincare Supplements
Regarding brain health, a recent randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled human trial on post-menopausal women between the ages of 45 - 85 yrs showed resveratrol supplementation significantly improved memory and overall cognitive performance, including better cerebral blood flow and blood vessel responsiveness. (5) Mood was said "to improve in multiple measures, though not significantly".(5)
Discussed in some depth in the study design paper precluding the results was the relationship between resveratrol and estrogen, and how as a phytoestrogen resveratrol may confer some of the cognitive and brain-protective benefits of estrogen.
In summation, the authors of the study stated the following:
"These results indicate that regular consumption of a modest dose of resveratrol can enhance both cerebrovascular function and cognition in post-menopausal women, potentially reducing their heightened risk of accelerated cognitive decline and offering a promising therapeutic treatment for menopause-related cognitive decline." (5)
Though other double-blind, placebo controlled human trials have indicated that resveratrol can cause better cerebral blood flow and brain performance, these effects may also be due in part to protective effects exerted by resveratrol on the hippocampus, i.e. a part of the brain central to memory, recall and learning. (6,7)
Some studies in mice have even indicated that resveratrol may help to grow new neurons in this part of the brain. (8) Others have indicated more generally that resveratrol protects the brain from oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. (9) Therefore resveratrol may not only help you improve brain and nervous system function, but also maintain what you've got.
Resveratrol dose for adults
Given the ready accessibility of resveratrol supplements, and the absense of side effects, these findings, and others like them, are not only important when it comes to preserving your cognitive function and memory, but for public health in general.
Though the study on cognitive enhancement discussed above used 75mg twice per day for 14 weeks, the recommended dose for resveratrol varies, depending on which source you consult... from 10mg per day, all the way up to 200mg twice per day.
In the end what resveratrol dose is best is going to vary based on the individual, and the result you are trying to achieve. You may need to experiment to see what amount works best for you.
Based on over 15 years of experience with resveratrol supplements, my recommendation would be between 50mg and 200mg per day of trans-resveratrol, i.e. the isomer your body uses. (Note: The product displayed below contains 200mg of trans-resveratrol with 50mg each of red wine and green tea extracts)
As for the best form of resveratrol, early supplements were extracted from red wine, yet it took a lot of raw material to get a meaningful dose, and there were stability issues. Now, though trademarked red wine extracts are stable, virtually all supplements on the market have started using extracts from Japanese Knotweed, (i.e. Polygonum cuspidatum), a botanical in which high amounts of resveratrol occur naturally. Just make sure the % or mg dosage of trans-resveratrol is specified.
As far as when to take resveratrol, theoretically it should be absorbed better if taken with meals, but many have found that it doen't actually seem to matter when you take it, over time benefits are still noticeable.
A small sampling of other research
Though the additional research listed below may seem sweeping, it represents only a tiny fraction of the total research on resveratrol that is out there.
- Has blood-glucose lowering effects and can modulate body weight. (10)
- Is protective against whole body radiation. (11)
- Is cancer protective and augments chemotherapy because of enhanced liver detoxification. (12)
- Is helpful for many aspects of eyesight, and visual conditions. (13)
- May help endometriosis when combined with progesterone. PATENT (14)
- Is highly beneficial for kidney disease. (15)
- May repair telomeres by inducing activity of telomerase. (16)
- May increase production of glutathione and provide lung protection in smokers. (17)
- Is cardioprotective...shown in humans to improve endothelial function and vasorelaxation, reduce platelet aggregation, and improve in the heart's left ventricle (diastolic) function, and to reduce LDL cholesterol. (18)
- Increases synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) (i.e. endothelial derived relaxing factor...which relaxes blood vessels affecting blood pressure positively.) (19)
- Improves glycemic control in human diabetics and may augment traditional therapy. (20)
- Inhibits progression of prostate cancer in mouse models. (21)
- Demonstrates antiangiogenic and apoptotic effects in transplanted breast cancer cells. (22)
And be clear...mountains more research on resveratrol is being performed as pharmaceutical companies try to figure out how they can capitalize on this therapeutic natural substance.
Makes you think the pharmaceutical industry would love to devise a governmental regulatory mechanism to gain stronger control over such an amazingly valuable molecule and others like it.... (Hey, aren't they in that exact process right now??)
Related article - What's Really Behind Health Canada's New Proposals For NHPs?
Continue to be well!