Resveratrol is a supplement that’s taken in pill and liquid form. It is widely used in the West due to the variety of health benefits that it provides, from protecting the body against oxidative damage to promoting heart health, brain function, and circulation as well as for its anti-aging properties.
In fact, discoveries are always being made about the health benefits associated with this natural chemical.
However, there are still plenty of skeptics who wonder whether it does work as promised. Judging from the available research data, it’s a promising compound to be sure, but further research needs to be done to discover the mechanisms of action that give resveratrol its positive effects on the human body.
Plus, there’s just so much information available about resveratrol online that it’s hard to distinguish the difference between real scientific fact, success stories from a subjective perspective, and claims that are currently being studied.
That’s why it’s important for you to do your research about resveratrol so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase and try it out.
Does Resveratrol Work?
Of the many claims that are made about resveratrol, it is believed that this chemical has anti-aging properties that can seriously improve life expectancy.
According to the available research, resveratrol works by predicting and preventing the diseases associated with aging, including cancer.
However, there are numerous other health claims associated with resveratrol apart from healthy aging. It is also marketed as a protein supplement for weightlifting enthusiasts, and as a dieting supplement that helps with obesity.
However, the question remains; are all these claims true, and how does it work?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. Research data unequivocally shows that consuming resveratrol has anti-aging benefits, but you have to keep in mind that this is mostly based on animal studies, and no human trials have been done yet.
Yes, there are some positive results from the tests that have been done, but it’s hard to tell if it would have the same results on humans, and there is no comprehensive research data to show its long-term effects.
That said, there is a positive stream of anecdotal evidence based on user reviews that you can find online about this product. Unfortunately, user reviews are not enough to make conclusive medical statements.
How Does Resveratrol Work?
Resveratrol seems to have different effects on the body, and one of the most widely-mentioned is its anti-oxidant properties.
Oxidative damage is one of the leading causes of aging and degenerative diseases like cancer, and it’s mainly caused by free radicals. Resveratrol offsets the free radical damage, which noticeably slows down the effects of aging on your skin, body, and brain. The topical version of resveratrol is widely used to reverse aging effects on the skin.
Some evidence suggests that resveratrol leads to nitric oxide production which promotes blood vessel dilation to increase blood circulation throughout the body.
This is highly beneficial because blood vessels tend to constrict with age, which affects blood flow. This is partially responsible for the health problems associated with aging such as poor heart health, poor circulation, strokes, and difficulty walking and standing for long periods of time.
Consuming high doses of a resveratrol supplement can also lead to an overproduction of nitric oxide in our body, which causes rapid blood flow. This can help to reduce fatigue by improving the metabolism of energy in the body, which is what makes it an ideal workout supplement.
Resveratrol has also been shown to limit estrogen levels while elevating testosterone levels. The chemical also holds significant benefits for cardiovascular health, as it actively reduces the build-up of cholesterol in the blood vessels.
Where Does Resveratrol Come From?
Resveratrol occurs naturally in certain grape varieties where it is highly concentrated, and since its initial discovery in the 20th century, its popularity has grown tremendously. Most people are familiar with resveratrol as one of the main components of red wine.
The highest concentration of the resveratrol antioxidant is mostly found in grape skins, but the best way to consume it on a daily basis is to take it in pill form.
Currently, there is a large number of studies underway to establish the efficacy of resveratrol and understand how it works. These studies are mostly being done on animals like monkeys, mice, and pigs. The selection process for the animals is typically based on the particular characteristic of resveratrol that is being isolated for study.
The United States’ Harvard University is one of the leading research facilities that are currently pursuing answers about resveratrol. Noteworthy research has been conducted by a Dr. David Sinclair using monkeys and mice as subjects to determine the effects of resveratrol on general aging, mood, and diet.
While these studies have generally yielded positive results, you’ll find that there’s a lot of information from the media about the lack of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of resveratrol.
Accord to Dr. Sinclair’s latest research study results, resveratrol consumption has historically been too low at 50mg per day, and the most beneficial dose would be 200mg of resveratrol per day. Increasing the dose will significantly improve the results experienced from consuming the supplement.
Should You Buy Resveratrol?
Online testimonials from people that have used and benefited from resveratrol can be very helpful in enabling you to make an informed decision. However, you should choose the reviews you read well, and try to find reviewers that can maintain an objective and unbiased view. It’s also a good idea to read as many online reviews as possible.
So far, no adverse side-effects have been reported as a result of consuming resveratrol. You can easily purchase a resveratrol supplement without a prescription in countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Since it’s so easily available, it’s important to perform thorough research on it before you purchase to make sure that you’re making the right decision for you.
Red Wine and Resveratrol: Good for Your Heart?
Consuming red wine in moderation has long been known to be of great benefit to heart health. The antioxidants, alcohol and other ingredients present in red wine may help to avert coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks.
The connection between red wine consumption and reduced heart attack occurrence is not yet firmly established. However, it is safe to assume that part of the reason why antioxidants are so effective at averting coronary artery disease is that they increase the amount of good cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the body, thus helping to prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol.
Finding out about the benefits of drinking red wine will sound like music to the ears of anyone who appreciates a glass of red to complement their evening meal, but it’s important to note that doctors don’t generally recommend alcohol consumption, particularly if there’s a history of alcohol abuse in your family.
That said, most doctors agree that there is some aspect of red wine that benefits heart health. This could be due to the resveratrol or antioxidants like flavonoids which are present in high quantities in red wine.
How is Red Wine Healthy for the Heart?
Seemingly, there are a lot of benefits that you can derive from consuming red wine. However, there is no evidence to prove that red wine is any healthier for your heart than white wine, beer or liquor.
However, there are certain antioxidants present in red wine, known as polyphenols, which can look after the blood vessels lining your heart. Polyphenol is one of the substances that red wine is most famous for.
Resveratrol in Red Wine
Not only is resveratrol one of the main components that make up red wine, but it has been found to prevent blood clots while reducing bad cholesterol, and it promotes the development of good cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) while helping you to avert blood vessel damage.
Certain research evidence further indicates that resveratrol is associated with lowering the risk of blood clotting and inflammation, both of which contribute to heart disease. On the other hand, certain studies did not find any correlation between resveratrol and heart disease prevention.
So, additional research needs to be conducted to establish the connection between resveratrol and reduced risk of blood clotting and inflammation.
Resveratrol in Grapes, Supplements and Other Foods
Grape skins are the biggest supplier of resveratrol in red wine, and the only reason you’ll find more resveratrol in red wine than you will in white wine is that winemakers ferment red wine in grape skins for an extended period when compared with red wine.
However, you don’t have to consume alcohol to get the health benefits of resveratrol. You can experience the same health benefits from eating raw grapes or drinking red and purple grape juices.
You can also get resveratrol from eating foods like cranberries, blueberries, and peanuts. However, there is no evidence to show that these foods provide the same heart health benefits associated with drinking red wine because resveratrol levels found in red wine differ from those found in food.
There are also resveratrol supplements available, of which research generally considers safe to consume. However, the human body is unable to assimilate the resveratrol found in supplements fully.
How Does Alcohol Help the Heart?
A majority of the research available on alcohol consumption shows that heart health benefits are not exclusive to red wine. According to this research, alcohol:
Increases HDL (healthy) cholesterol levels
Reduces blood clot formation
Helps to prevent high levels of LDL (harmful) cholesterol, which causes artery damage
Can also improve the performance of the cell layers lining your blood vessels - aka endothelium
Drink in Moderation or Not at All
Resveratrol’s potential health benefits for your heart look promising. Consuming any form of alcohol, including red wine in moderation, can help to lower heart disease rate.
That said, it’s important to mention here that most of the studies that are done to compare non-drinkers to moderate drinkers don’t take into consideration the fact that non-drinkers may have already had health issues going into the study. So, additional research is needed to confirm whether or not it is beneficial for heart health to drink red wine over other types of alcohol, like spirits and beer.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has never exclusively recommended alcohol consumption for heart disease prevention, and neither has the American Heart Association. That’s probably because alcohol can contribute to your health problems and there’s also the fact that it is addictive.
Overconsumption of alcohol increases the risk of developing:
Weight gain and obesity
High blood pressure
Certain types of cancer
Liver and pancreas diseases
Accidents, violence, and suicide
You should completely avoid alcohol consumption if you are:
Have a weak heart or have experienced heart failure
Take aspirin or certain medications on a daily basis
Have a pancreas or liver disease associated with alcohol consumption
Have a personal or strong family history of alcoholism
The best person to speak to if you want to find out about the risks and benefits of alcohol is your doctor, as they’ll be able to give you sound recommendations and advice on the subject.
Otherwise, your best bet is to drink red wine in moderation, and for adults in good health that translates to:
One drink per day for women of all ages.
One drink per day for men older than 65 years of age.
Up to two drinks per day for men who are 65 years and younger. Men have a higher limit than women because they usually weigh more and contain a higher amount of the enzyme which metabolizes alcohol.
One drink equates to:
355 milliliters, or mL (12 ounces) of beer
148 mL (5 ounces) of wine
44 mL (1.5 ounces) of 80-proof distilled spirits
Resveratrol Supplements Health Benefits
Resveratrol is a widely known component of red wine and is the key to lowering bad cholesterol, and this is part of the reason why red wine is so popular.
However, apart from the nutritive contribution, it makes to red wine and certain foods, resveratrol also contains health advantages in its isolated form.
This is why resveratrol supplements are renowned for having numerous health benefits like lowering blood pressure and improving brain function.
The following are a few of the key health benefits provided by resveratrol:
May Help Lower Blood Pressure
The antioxidant properties in resveratrol make it a favorable aid in combating blood pressure.
A review that was published in 2015 indicates that consuming high doses of resveratrol may diminish the burden on artery walls as the heart beats. This is known as systolic blood pressure and is the higher digit in your blood pressure readings, which usually increases as you get older.
This is because the arteries start to stiffen with age naturally, and once systolic blood pressure increases it can lead to heart disease. The good thing about resveratrol is that it promotes nitric oxide production, which is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels, which then lowers blood pressure.
That said, additional research is still required to ascertain the right dosage to capitalize on the blood pressure relieving benefits of resveratrol.
Has a Positive Effect on Blood Fats?
Numerous animal studies indicate that taking resveratrol supplements can have positive effects on blood fats. In a 2016 study, a group of mice was purposefully fed a diet of high-polyunsaturated fat and high protein alongside resveratrol supplements. At the end of the study, it was found that the mice had decreased levels of cholesterol and body weight, while they also experienced increased levels of HDL aka the “good” cholesterol.
Resveratrol appears to disrupt the action of the enzyme which is responsible for cholesterol production, which is what affects cholesterol levels.
Since it is an antioxidant, it has the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which is the bad type. Oxidation of LDL is what adds to plaque accumulation on the artery walls.
Another study with human participants administered a grape extract with increased resveratrol levels, and within six months of taking the supplement, their LDL levels had decreased by up to 4.5%, whereas oxidized LDL levels were reduced by up to 20%. This was in comparison to participants that were given a placebo or an unenriched grape extract.
Lengthens Lifespan in Certain Animals
One of the fascinating characteristics about resveratrol is its reported potential to lengthen the lifespan in a variety of organisms. Available evidence suggests that resveratrol consumption triggers anti-aging genes and that it works similarly to calorie restriction to extend lifespan by transforming gene expression.
But, similar effects have not been observed in humans.
Studies which explore the link between resveratrol consumption and extended lifespan found that this effect was found in 60% of the organisms that were studied, although it is worth noting that the benefits observed were mostly prevalent in organisms with a lesser connection to humans, i.e., fish and worms.
Protects the Brain
Numerous studies have established the connection between red wine consumption and prevention of cognitive decline related to aging. This is somewhat related to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action of resveratrol, and it also seems to disrupt the Alzheimer causing the action of protein fragments known as beta-amyloid.
Also, resveratrol may lead to a sequence of events that prevents drain cell damage.
However, research scientists may want to perform additional research trials to ascertain how well the human body can maximize resveratrol in supplement form because it’s currently restricted as a brain-protecting supplement.
May Increase Insulin Sensitivity
Animal studies indicate that resveratrol offers numerous benefits for people living with diabetes.
For example, resveratrol consumption is known to increase sensitivity to insulin which reduces the occurrence of diabetes complications. It is also believed that resveratrol helps to prevent particular enzymes from turning glucose into a type of sugar alcohol known as sorbitol. An over-accumulation of sorbitol can lead to oxidative stress in diabetes patients, which then leads to cell damage.
The following are some additional resveratrol benefits for people living with diabetes:
Safeguards against oxidative stress: The antioxidant action of resveratrol can protect the body from oxidative stress, which is one of the leading causes of diabetes complications.
Lowers inflammation: It is believed that resveratrol reduces inflammation, which is one of the major contributors to the development of most chronic diseases, diabetes included.
Activates AMPK: The AMPK protein makes it easier for the body to metabolize glucose, and once activated, this protein can play a huge role in capping blood sugar levels.
Resveratrol might benefit diabetes patients even better than those who do not have this condition. In fact, a recent study showed that the resveratrol antioxidant and red wine worked better on rats that have diabetes than those who didn’t have it.
Researchers state that resveratrol could be a very useful diabetes treatment in the future, especially when it comes to dealing with its complication. However additional research still needs to be conducted to confirm this.
May Ease Joint Pain
The arthritis condition is quite common and is characterized by debilitating joint pain that often leads to loss of mobility. Several studies are underway to determine the effect of plant-based supplements in the prevention and treatment of joint pain. Resveratrol supplements are usually very helpful in preventing cartilage decline.
Cartilage damage can lead to significant pain in the joints, which is a major symptom of arthritis. A study was recently conducted where resveratrol was injected on the knee joints of rabbits that suffered from arthritis, and this subsequently led to reduced cartilage damage. Additional research done with test tubes and animals indicates that resveratrol can help you to avert joint damage while reducing inflammation at the same time.
May Suppress Cancer Cells
Research conducted on test tubes indicates that resveratrol really can help to prevent and treat cancer, although results do appear varied.
Test-tube and animal studies have both shown that resveratrol can fight different types of cancer cells, including prostate, breast, skin, colon and gastric types.
Resveratrol has been studied, especially in test tubes, for its ability to prevent and treat cancer. However,
This is how resveratrol works to fight cancer cell growth:
Prevents the growth of cancer cells: Resveratrol may inhibit the spread and replication of cancerous cells.
May transform gene expression: It can change the expression of genes in cancer cells, which stops them from growing.
May have hormonal effects: Resveratrol could restrict hormone expression to help prevent the spread of hormone-dependent cancers.
However, the above evidence is based on animal and test tube studies, which is why more research needs to be done to determine the compound’s efficacy as a cancer treatment for humans.
Resveratrol Supplements Risks and Concerns
The available data shows that taking resveratrol supplements do not come with any major risks. While those in good health seem to stomach it just fine, there is no certainty regarding the required dosage to experience the health benefits.
However, you should exercise caution when taking resveratrol along with other medications.
For example, resveratrol’s ability to stop blood clot formation can lead to bruising or increased bleeding when consumed along with certain pain relievers or anti-clotting drugs like warfarin or heparin.
Also, mixing resveratrol with the intake of certain blood pressure treatment and anxiety meds is probably not a good idea, seeing that the compound tends to block certain enzymes from cleaning out other compounds from your body which can lead to an unsafe accumulation of those compounds.
That’s why it’s always important to consult with your doctor before you try any supplements.
Currently, there’s a huge debate going on about how the body handles resveratrol intake in the supplement and other forms.
Research is underway to find ways of making resveratrol more accessible to the human body.
What Dose of Resveratrol Should You Take?
A lot of attention has been going to a study published in the Nature journal wherein a group of mice was fed a high-fat diet along with a resveratrol supplement. It’s important to note here that resveratrol has been proven to increase the lifespan of certain organisms like flies, fish, and worms. Therefore, the point of the study was to show the benefits of resveratrol when paired with caloric restriction mechanisms, as that has proven very effective at treating age-related diseases and chronic disorders in the past.
That said, this study came under fire apparently due to the doses that were administered to the mice to deliver the beneficial results, as the human equivalent of that dose had questionable repercussions. However, only The Life Extension Foundation has studied the effects of a grape seed/ resveratrol supplement on the human biological disposition, based on results shown by health-conscious individuals that are already taking this supplementation. The research found that humans needed to take a dosage that was 10x more than that used in the previously mentioned study to achieve the same beneficial results.
Also, Life Extension reports that BioMarker is currently busy with animal studies using the same resveratrol/ grape extract which is already being utilized by members of the Foundation. The purpose of these studies was to find out how consumption of the Resveratrol Fortified Grapeseed Extract would affect the expression of certain genes in mice. Initial data showed a substantial intersection between the positive gene expression shown by the mice who were fed a calorie-restrictive diet and those that were taking the grape extract. Another study which was done with Drosophila, a type of fruit fly, showed significant improvement in a certain type of Parkinson’s diseases as well as a prolonged life expectancy.
Resveratrol and Other Health-Promoting Grape Constituents
The Life Extension Foundation is committed to applying the most useful findings in the scientific literature to extend lifespan through improved health. The available evidence increasingly shows the wide range of effects from biologically active molecules of natural plant extracts like resveratrol. You see, molecular compounds such as resveratrol are available as a complex combination of various molecules that are relevant to us physiologically. A lot of these elements are obligatory in making phytomedicinal agents available to create synergistic action and bioavailability. These are some of the important considerations that research scientists must consider studying a sing phytochemical like resveratrol, as opposed to observing the effects of resveratrol when mixed with grape seed extracts and grape skins.
Grapes, grape skins and grape seed extracts contain valuable molecules that contain powerful anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, quercetin, and resveratrol. The goal of scientific research is to identify and record the health benefits affected by these components, which may include anti-diabetic, anti-tumor, antibiotic, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, anti-brain aging and cardioprotective action.
For example, grade seed extract is good for heart health because it improves blood pressure condition and endothelial function while reducing oxidative stress. Animals studies on Alzheimer’s disease have shown grape seed extract to contain massive neuroprotective effects. Grape seed extracts were found very effective at building healthy bones when consumed along with calcium and has also been shown to prevent the development of human colorectal tumor cells, according to animal and lab research.
The discovery of resveratrol’s effects on animal-based studies has drawn the attention of the scientific community, especially when considering what the ramifications would be on human subjects. Perhaps the most burning question is; what dosage of resveratrol is needed to replicate the same health benefits for humans? Simple inferring human dosage according to a multiplied quantity of animal dosage leaves a lot to be desired, hence the scientific community has decided to approach the questions from different angles. The gene-expression studies done on mice are showing some impressive findings, especially regarding explaining the biological effects of grape extracts and resveratrol on a molecular basis.
The Harvard Study which fed mice a high-fat diet has been met with a lot of interest because the resveratrol supplement helped the mice to avoid a lot of the common ailments related to such a diet. The mice who were given a resveratrol supplement showed reduced organ pathology, increased sensitivity to insulin, increased survival and an increased number of mitochondria. The gene expression of the mice on resveratrol was transformed to mimic that of mice on a standard diet with the moderate fat intake. The mice were fed 22.4 kilograms of resveratrol per kilogram of body weight. The goal of selecting a high individual dose is to produce a noticeable effect. However, the high dosages did cause some controversy.
At the same time as the Harvard Study, BioMarker Pharmaceuticals had just finished a controlled feeding study which lasted eight weeks and involved the feeding of either grape extract or the synthetic version of resveratrol, along with a typical diet. The scientists developed gene expression profiles of these mice, which were later compared to similar profiles of mice that were on a calorie restrictive diet. This study also utilized a significantly lower resveratrol dosage than the one used in the Harvard Study.
Results of Gene-Expression Analysis
A group of mice was given a daily dose of either a resveratrol-fortified grape extract or synthetic resveratrol along with a normal diet. Another group of mice was fed a normal diet and were not given resveratrol in any form, whereas another group of mice on a restrictive calorie diet were also observed. The control groups, as well as the grape extract/ resveratrol groups, had the same caloric intake, and in the calorie-restricted group, it was 40% less.
After eight weeks of following the same feeding schedule, the mice had their livers harvested in preparation gene-expression profiling via RNA which is very similar to DNA. The samples had to undergo special preparation for examination with “gene chips” also known as DNA microarrays, and they encompassed a complete set of mouse genes that were categorized into 45, 000 probe sets which equaled a full set of 34, 000 genes which are unique to the mouse genome.
To guarantee the accuracy, statistical methods were utilized to determine gene expression levels.
The two groups of mice that were given resveratrol both showed a substantial transformation in key gene expression, which indicates that the compound can have significant biological effects, even when utilized in low doses as shown in this study. The uniquely expressed genes are responsible for over 100 different molecular pathways, like those that govern metabolic function (mainly in the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates), the management of cell death and DNA repair. It is safe to assume that these genes are responsible for a significant portion of the biological effects of resveratrol since they are major biological pathways. Also, even though the dosage was 10x lower than the Harvard Study, it still yielded significant results.
What This Means to Aging Humans Today
There are about 90 micrograms of resveratrol in one fluid ounce of red wine. There are 20mg –or 20, 000 mcg- of resveratrol in the supplements utilized by the members of the Life Extension Foundation. The 20mg of resveratrol in a single capsule of this supplement is 220 times more than the resveratrol amount you get in a fluid ounce of red wine.
Ergo, if a glass of wine amounts to about 1 and 1/3 ounces, then taking a 20mg capsule of resveratrol is tantamount to drinking 41 glasses of red vino. Yep, you heard it!
BioMarker Pharmaceutical’s research on mice shows that feeding the mice the human equivalent of 20mg resveratrol every 24 hours resulted in promising anti-aging gene-expression.
Another positive study which was widely reported in late 2006, utilized hundreds or thousands of milligrams of resveratrol per day
At present we have a lot of positive research data on resveratrol and other grape extracts, along with a variety of doses to consider for aging patients who want to get the most out of the compound.
So, you can safely choose to take 20mg a day of resveratrol knowing that its backed by positive results from the research done by BioMarker, which showed that this dosage could deliver very impressive improvements in degenerative diseases and the aging process.
There are also a few other studies reported by the media, which show the positive effects of consuming the compound in higher doses. Plus, resveratrol supplements and other grape extracts are available in 20mg and 100mg capsules for a very reasonable price tag.
Our Number One Recommendation
Purity Labs “Certified” Organic Trans-Resveratrol Supplement has a lot going for it. However, the labeling on the package is very perplexing because each serving only contains 500mg of resveratrol per capsule, whereas it indicates otherwise when you first read it.
Also, the advertising is a bit confusing since they market it as the most powerful potency available, which is not exactly accurate when you consider that there is only 500mg of resveratrol contained in each capsule. Plus, the fact that you have to take 3 capsules per day means that they’ll only last you for a month because there are only 90 capsules in each bottle.
In addition to the resveratrol, each capsule comes with a proprietary combination of different antioxidants like Grape Seed, Pomegranate, Green Tea and Vitamin C to improve the absorption and action of Resveratrol in the body.
In addition to their capsules being vegetarian with certified organic ingredients, Purity Labs does not add any artificial flavors, colors, sugar, dairy, soy, preservatives, trans fats or superfluous fillers in their products, and they also claim to be free from GMO’s, wheat and gluten.
This product is a great option for anyone that wants to benefit from the body- regulating and anti-oxidant properties of resveratrol while knowing that they’re purchasing an organic and clean product. However, if you’re looking for something that exclusively contains resveratrol, then you might want to look elsewhere. It’s worth adding here that this company does offer a money-back guarantee, so you can return it if it doesn’t work as expected or advertised.
Does not contain any additives, artificial colors, and flavors, dairy, gluten soy, GMO ingredients, sugar, trans fats or preservatives
Vegetarian and certified organic
Third-party quality control and testing
The labeling is quite confusing
The price point is a bit high for the serving size