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The Secrets of Resveratrol's Health Benefits

August 18, 2009 | 143,368 views

grapes, wine, resveratrolScientists have unraveled a mystery that has perplexed scientists since resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine and other foods, was first discovered to have health benefits: how does it control inflammation?

New research explains resveratrol's effect on inflammation, and also shows how it can be used to treat potentially deadly inflammatory disease, such as appendicitis, peritonitis, and systemic sepsis.

Resveratrol stops inflammation with a one-two punch that prevents your body from creating two different molecules known to trigger inflammation -- sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant found in certain fruits, vegetables and cocoa that is emerging as a modern-day fountain of youth. The science surrounding this compound is so compelling that it has become one of my all-time favorite antioxidants, and I believe one that shows real promise of health benefits.

Resveratrol is typically associated with grapes and red wine, and was originally believed to be the reason for the so-called “French Paradox” -- the tendency for French people to have great cardiovascular health despite a “poor” diet and love for wine.

This newest study reveals one way in which resveratrol helps to protect your health, and that is by preventing your body from sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D -- two molecules known to trigger inflammation.

While inflammation is a natural response in your body (it’s a process in which your body’s white blood cells protect you from outside invaders such as bacteria and viruses), it’s possible for your body to exist in a chronically inflamed state.

Chronic inflammation is not a beneficial bodily response, and in fact has been linked to numerous chronic diseases including heart disease.

What Makes Resveratrol a Unique Antioxidant

Resveratrol is unique among antioxidants because it can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect your brain and nervous system, and studies show that its benefits are wide reaching, including:

• Protecting your cells from free radical damage

• Inhibiting the spread of cancer, especially prostate cancer

• Lowering your blood pressure

• Keeping your heart healthy and improving elasticity in your blood vessels

• Normalizing your anti-inflammatory response

• Helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Because resveratrol appears to be so effective at warding off many diseases associated with aging, it is often referred to a “fountain of youth” that can extend lifespan.

Already, animal studies have shown that resveratrol helped overweight mice run farther and live about 20 percent longer. It has even been found to increase the lifespan of human cells.

Resveratrol also seems to produce many similar benefits as exercise, and I suspect it would be a powerful addition to exercise. I personally take resveratrol because of this belief.

The Best Sources of Resveratrol

Resveratrol is found in grapes, which produce it as a defense against fungi. Muscadine grapes actually have the highest concentration of resveratrol in nature because of their extra thick skins and numerous seeds where it is concentrated.

Resveratrol is also found in abundance in red wine, and it’s highly soluble in alcohol, meaning your body may absorb more of it from red wine than from other sources. But there ARE other sources out there, including cocoa, dark chocolate and peanuts.

If you opt to take a resveratrol supplement, there are numerous products on the market. Be sure to look for one made from muscadine grapes that uses WHOLE grape skins and seeds, as this is where many of the benefits are concentrated.

More Tips for Lowering Inflammation

Increasing your intake of resveratrol may be a potent way to lower inflammation in your body, but it is far from the only way. If you’re suffering from excess inflammation, you really need to focus on your diet, as inflammation is aggravated by:

  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Lots of sugar and grains
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats

In addition to avoiding the dietary hazards just mentioned, here are a few more recommendations that can have a profound impact on reducing inflammation in your body:

1. Take a high-quality krill oil that is chock full of beneficial omega-3 fats.

2. Make sure you’re eating the right foods for your body’s unique nutritional type.

3. Optimize your insulin levels. If your fasting insulin level is not lower than 3, consider limiting or eliminating your intake of grains and sugars until you optimize your insulin level.

4. Make sure your vitamin D levels are optimized. Most people are not aware that vitamin D can have a profoundly dramatic impact on normalizing blood pressure and lowering your risk for inflammation and related heart disease.

5. Reduce stress. High levels of stress hormones can lead to the release of excess inflammatory chemicals, so I recommend using the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT) to help release your negative emotions.


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