Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a class of plant micronutrients called polyphenols. Polyphenols are organic chemicals that plants make to survive drought or attack from disease. These compounds are found in plant foods and have a variety of health benefits.

Resveratrol is found in peanuts, berries, and grapes. It is also found in red wine in higher amounts. Resveratrol has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to protect you against diseases like cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol make it a good remedy for arthritis, and skin inflammation. Also, resveratrol has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help treat infections of the urinary and digestive tracts.

Health Benefits

Polyphenols like resveratrol are important to protect the body from free radical cellular damage. Free radicals form in the body naturally when your body breaks down food, you breathe in cigarette smoke, or if you are exposed to radiation. They are unstable and attack cells. They are also responsible for the development of some age-related diseases.

Resveratrol can prevent these common conditions:

Cancer

Many studies indicate that resveratrol could help prevent and treat certain types of cancer. Its anti-tumor effects include inhibiting cancer cell growth, cell signaling, angiogenesis, and promoting cell death.  

Studies have found that resveratrol negatively affects cancer at all stages of development. Most importantly, researchers have found that resveratrol makes chemotherapy more effective by blocking chemotherapy-resistant proteins.

Cardiovascular Disease

Numerous studies have explored resveratrol’s role in preventing and managing cardiovascular (heart-related) disease. Resveratrol exhibits protective effects against blood vessel damage. Studies also show that it lowers cholesterol levels and prevents blood clots.  

Many researchers have concluded that resveratrol is a valuable micronutrient that can prevent heart disease in those at risk and help treat people with progressing cardiovascular conditions.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

The anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol are effective in controlling inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. Neuroinflammation (inflammation of parts of the nervous system) is one factor that contributes to the progression of brain-related problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and multiple sclerosis.

One study followed participants with Alzheimer’s disease for 52 weeks to observe the therapeutic effects of resveratrol. One control group received a placebo, while another received resveratrol. For the group with the placebo, neurological biomarkers continued to decline over the observational period. However, the group receiving daily doses of resveratrol saw stabilization in those same biomarkers.

Continued

While further study is needed, the outcome of this study seems promising for the use of resveratrol in the future.

Diabetes

Resveratrol has demonstrated health benefits for people with Type 2 diabetes in several studies. For example, researchers commonly see improvements in serum lipid (cholesterol) and glucose (sugar) levels after treating test subjects with resveratrol.

The studies show that resveratrol reverses insulin resistance, lowers blood sugar levels, and even lowers elevated blood pressure, a condition many people with diabetes have.

Health Risks

The amount of resveratrol naturally contained in foods is considered safe for daily consumption. Low to medium doses of resveratrol are considered safe, even when taken for long periods. Higher doses of up to 3,000 milligrams per day can be taken safely for up to six months, but some people have reported stomach upset.

You may want to avoid resveratrol supplements in these situations: 

Bleeding Disorders

Resveratrol decreases blood clotting. If you have a blood clotting disorder and are at risk for bleeding, you should avoid taking resveratrol supplements.

Estrogen Sensitivity

Resveratrol can act like the hormone estrogen in the body. If you have an estrogen-sensitive condition like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or reproductive cancers, do not take resveratrol.

Surgery

Due to resveratrol’s blood-thinning properties, you should stop taking any resveratrol supplements two weeks before surgery.

Medication Interactions

Resveratrol slows blood clotting. If taken with anticoagulant (non-clotting) medications, you are at increased risk of bleeding. Anticoagulants include warfarin, heparin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.

Amounts and Dosage

Resveratrol occurs naturally in some plant foods. You can add resveratrol to your diet by eating foods like peanuts, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries. Red wine is also a good source of resveratrol.

You can also find resveratrol supplements in the vitamin section of your grocery store. There is no recommended daily allowance for resveratrol. Supplements may contain 100 milligrams, 250 milligrams, or 500 milligrams of resveratrol per capsule.  

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 12, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: “Resveratrol for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Biomedicines: “Resveratrol: A Double-Edged Sword in Health Benefits.”

Endocrinology: “Resveratrol Acts as a Mixed Agonist/Antagonist for Estrogen Receptors α and  β.

Europe PMC: “Advances in resveratrol studies.”

Inflammation & Allergy-Drug Targets: “Anti-Inflammatory Responses of Resveratrol.”

Inflammation: “Effects of Resveratrol in Inflammatory Arthritis.”

International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents: “Antibacterial and antifungal properties of resveratrol.”

Mayo Clinic: “Antioxidants.”

Mayo Clinic: “Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?”

Nutrition and Metabolism: “Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis.”

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