Have you heard of resveratrol? It’s a potent antioxidant that is being touted all over the news, in magazines, and in research.
Resveratrol is derived from red wine, grapes, blueberries, bilberries, cranberries and peanuts and contains a potent polyphenolic compound known as a stilbene. It occurs in nature in a trans and cis form, however it’s the trans configuration that humans readily absorb. It is metabolized just as quickly, though, making the bioavailability very low.
What does it do?
1. Protects mitochondria
A 2011 study in the Journal of Exercise Science Review found that resveratrol stimulates the effects that calorie restriction (not malnutrition) has on the body. Specifically, it helps with the regeneration and improvement of the body’s mitochondria that are responsible for energy in the liver, brain, and skeletal muscles.
Mitochondria are also very involved in the aging process. The worse your mitochondria, the faster your cells and body age.
2. Might improve metabolism
In the November 2011 Cell Metabolism, researchers found that men who took resveratrol had lower leptin, glucose, and insulin all of which are important for weight management.
3. Lowers inflammation
The same Cell Metabolism study also found that the inflammatory cytokine, Tumor Necrosis Factor, is lower in those who took resveratrol. Another study in the March 2011 Arthritis Research and Therapy found resveratrol lowered several inflammatory markers in arthritis sufferers.
4. Fatty liver protection
In the 2008 American Journal of Physiology –Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, researchers found resveratrol helped fat metabolism in the liver and protected it from damage.
5. Improves lung function
In the August 2011 European Respiratory Journal, researchers found resveratrol lowered inflammation in the lung and improved overall lung function.
More studies need to happen, however there are no known adverse effects when taking resveratrol. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, research demonstrates resveratrol might have the ability to act as a very weak estrogen and mildly stimulate an estrogen receptor. Therefore use caution if you have a history of estrogen positive cancer.
1. Linus Pauling Institute: Resveratrol. Web. 2 November, 2011.
2. Mitochondrial Protection by Resveratrol. Web. 2 November, 2011.
3. Resveratrol Improves Metabolism in Obese Men. Web. 2 November, 2011.
4. Molecular Targets of Natural Health Products in Arthritis. Web. 2 November, 2011.
5. Resveratrol May Help Treat Fatty Liver. Web. 2 November, 2011.
6. Lung Function Increases With Resveratrol, White Wine Intake. Web. 2 November, 2011.
Reviewed November 3, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith