Resveratrol’s recent popularity can be attributed to its purported benefits and availability. The compound found in red and white wine is part of the reason wine is said to be a great addition to a balanced diet. But to truly understand if it works, it’s best to examine the most recent research that determines its efficacy.
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in grapes –– and by extension –– wine, in addition to berries and small quantities in peanuts. Polyphenols are micronutrients rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent oxidation, which causes free radicals to accumulate in the body. In turn, free radicals are responsible for damaging cells resulting in several ailments and illnesses, in addition to accelerating aging.
Resveratrol: Does it Work?
Because Resveratrol is an antioxidant, it has similar benefits to other antioxidants like Vitamin A, E, and C. However, what makes Resveratrol different from these more common antioxidants is that it belongs to the Stilbenoids group of antioxidants. Stilbenoids are responsible for protecting plants from toxins and fungal infections, enabling the plant to self-heal to a degree. Preliminary research reveals that some of those benefits can be made available to humans through the consumption of foods rich in Resveratrol.
Although scientific studies into this compound are ongoing, early-stage research suggests that Resveratrol has numerous benefits, which include:
Preventing Cancer: In vitro and in vivo studies have confirmed that on a cellular level Resveratrol can prevent all stages of cancer, from initiation to progression.
Other studies on rats with cancer showed that Resveratrol prevented cancer and reduced the tumor size.
However, scientists still haven’t concluded ways to make these benefits available to humans through supplementation or consumption.
Protecting against Heart Disease: The first sign that wine might have health benefits came from the French. Known as the “French paradox,” the European nation has a diet high in fat. Yet has low instances of cardiovascular disease associated with such a diet.
Since Resveratrol is in wine, initial research showed that Resveratrol could help fight atherosclerosis, a cardiovascular disease occurring because of the buildup of cholesterol, fats, and other substances in your artery walls, which can cause blood clots.
Maintaining Cognitive Abilities: This benefit is based on the theory that if medical practitioners could prevent plaque buildup in the brain –– linked to Alzheimer’s –– they could prevent the cognitive decline associated with the disease. Given Resveratrol’s proven ability to prevent buildup in artery walls in small studies, the theory is that these benefits could double as an Alzheimer’s inhibitor. However, before the compound can be widely used, further research would need to be done to ensure that any Resveratrol consumed would become active in the body in the way it is intended.
Minimizing Signs of Aging: Since aging is intrinsic, no cure exists for the biological and physiological processes. However, Resveratrol can help reduce common signs associated with aging – like fine lines, wrinkles, and thinning hair. The micronutrient can accomplish this by inhibiting the free radicals that cause and exacerbate many common signs of aging. Studies on fruit flies and yeast showed that Resveratrol prolonged their life span.
Presently there aren’t any reported side effects to using Resveratrol, especially when consumed in moderate amounts. Therefore, supplementing or adding Resveratrol-rich fruit like grapes to your diet should be worthwhile practice to improve your overall health.