Resveratrol is constantly in the news and on TV now. So what’s all the hype about this thing called Resveratrol? To answer this question, I give a short explanation of what Resveratrol is, what it does and how it works:
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts, and some berries. Large quantities of anti-oxidents and Resveratrol are found in the skins of grapes; hence the Resveratrol supplement has been labeled “the wine pill”. Plants make Resveratrol to protect themselves against the effects of poor growing conditions, severe weather and attacks by insects and disease.
Resveratrol exists in two different isomers: trans-Resveratrol and cis-Resveratrol. The prefixes refer to the shape of the molecule. When taken orally, Resveratrol appears to be well-absorbed by humans. As a consumer, you are only concerned with “trans-Resveratrol” because it is the biologically active one of the two isomers. It is the one that produces the desired effects that everyone is raving about.
So what exactly will a Resveratrol supplement do for me?
There are many desired effects of taking Resveratrol. Let me just say that Resveratrol naturally activates our “longevity gene” (the “sirtuin SIR genes.) This has many desired effects such as a boost in energy, fat burning efficiency, increased ability to focus mentally, decrease in the sensitivity in the bowels caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reduction in coronary heart disease, and more.
Resveratrol Effects on Cholesterol:
Resveratrol prevents age-related and obesity-related cardiovascular functional decline. It effectively scavenges (neutralizes) free radicals and other oxidants and inhibits low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation. The chemical structure of Resveratrol is very similar to that of the synthetic estrogen agonist, diethylstilbestrol.
In estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells, Resveratrol acted as an estrogen agonist mirroring the effects of diethylstilbestrol. Resveratrol also has been found to inhibit the expression of adhesion of inflammatory white blood cells from the blood to the arterial wall by vascular cell adhesion molecules.
Resveratrol has also been found to exert a number of potentially cardioprotective effects including inhibition of platelet aggregation and promotion of vasodilation by enhancing the production of inflammatory enzymes.
Resveratrol Effects on Cancer:
Resveratrol has been found to inhibit the proliferation of a variety of human cancer cell lines, including those from breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreatic, and thyroid cancers.
Following DNA damage, the cell cycle can be transiently arrested to allow for DNA repair or activation of pathways leading to cell death. Resveratrol has been found to inhibit the activity of certain cytochrome enzymes which promotes the excretion of potentially toxic or carcinogenic chemicals. Resveratrol helps prevent cancer by decreasing exposure to these activated carcinogens.
Resveratrol is not known to be toxic or cause adverse effects in humans. It is completely natural. We are learning a great deal about how Resveratrol affects the health and survival of humans, with many promising new approaches being discovered every day. The continued study of calorie restriction mimetics like Resveratrol help point the way to creating new medicines that treat the disease of aging.