Resveratrol is a bioactive compound found in grapes and red wine. Interest in the compound began in 2003 when research showed that resveratrol was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells.
NutraIngredients notes that:
“Since then studies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives.
Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.”
Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grape skins, berries, cocoa and peanuts, has been called the modern-day “fountain of youth” for a very compelling reason: it appears to slow down aging and even increase the lifespan of human cells.
Much of the well-deserved fanfare surrounding resveratrol has centered on its role in enhancing longevity, but new research is expanding this focus and showing this potent antioxidant may influence many aspects of your health, including that of your brain.
Resveratrol is unique among antioxidants because it can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect your brain and nervous system. This latest study by researchers from the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University is the first to show that resveratrol has a marked impact on increasing blood flow to your brain.
After taking either 250 or 500 milligrams of resveratrol, study participants experienced a dose-dependent increase in cerebral blood flow, which suggests that resveratrol may play a role in keeping your brain function healthy.
One of the Few Supplements I Personally Take Every Day
The science surrounding resveratrol 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. I take resveratrol in the form of our Purple Defense supplement every morning and I take a much higher dosage, about eight to 10, when I fly to help protect against the effects of radiation.
So what exactly is resveratrol?
It’s a polyphenolic bioflavanoid antioxidant that certain plants produce in response to stress, such as injury or fungal infection. It first entered the limelight as a potential explanation for the so-called French paradox -- the tendency for French people to have great cardiovascular health despite a “poor” diet and love for wine (which is a rich source of resveratrol).
It later made headlines in 2003, when Harvard researchers found it could extend the lifespan of yeast cells. Since then it has been found to similarly extend the lifespan of nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice. It works by activating a gene called sirtuin1, which is also activated during calorie restriction -- another method to extend lifespan -- in various species.
Resveratrol Helps Lower Insulin and Inflammation
How is it that resveratrol may help to boost brain and heart health, while slowing down the aging process?
One is through its ability to modify inflammation in your body. Resveratrol helps prevent your body from creating sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D -- two molecules known to trigger inflammation.
While inflammation is a natural bodily response (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 beneficial, and in fact has been linked to numerous chronic diseases including heart disease.
Resveratrol also seems to produce many similar benefits as exercise, including lowering insulin levels, which is a key to fighting disease and staying young. Insulin resistances speed up the aging process, while keeping insulin level resistance normal has the opposite effect.
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals has, in fact, already developed a resveratrol pill that was used in a trial on people with untreated diabetes.
Lowered glucose and insulin levels without any changes in diet or taking other drugs. I certainly do not recommend that you replace a healthy diet or exercise program with resveratrol, but the research suggests it is a powerful addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Remember, too, that resveratrol is a potent antioxidant, and antioxidants help to protect your cells from free radical damage and aging.
A Potent Free Radical Scavenger
Aging is a natural process that reflects the free radical damage that accumulates in your cells over the years. When your body uses oxygen, it naturally produces free radicals that attack your cells. Even breathing produces free radicals. This means your very cells are constantly under attack from free radicals; and sooner or later, you WILL begin to experience the first signs of aging.
A diet rich in fresh, organic vegetables and fruits is one of the best ways to enhance your body’s free radical protection, but powerhouses like resveratrol may give you an extra boost.
Resveratrol deeply penetrates the center of your cell’s nucleus, giving your DNA time to repair free radical damage. It also supports cell functions in your heart and brain so that you can:
- Help prevent the rampant spread of cancer cells at any stage
- Keep your blood circulation going smoothly and prevent arterial damage
- Protect your brain from the development of Alzheimer’s disease
- Prevent neurological disorders such as strokes, ischemia, and Huntington’s disease
Should You Get Resveratrol from Red Wine?
Resveratrol is 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. I do not, however, suggest drinking large amounts of red wine, as the alcohol is a poison to your system.
You can get some resveratrol from your diet by eating grapes (muscadine grapes have the highest concentration of resveratrol in nature because of their extra thick skins and numerous seeds where it is concentrated), cocoa, dark chocolate and peanuts, but it will likely be difficult to get a therapeutic dose, especially since these are all foods I recommend you eat only in moderation.
The other option is to take a resveratrol supplement, and in this case be sure to look for one made from a whole food complex that includes muscadine grape skin and seeds.