Often called nature’s immune system, Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenol that is produced in several plants.
The reason for Resveratrol’s unusually powerful therapeutic and health benefits are because it is a phytoalexin – its function is to protect plants from illness or disease. It protects the plant against fungal pathogens and bacteria.
In fact, it’s this response in grapes that has made most people indirectly aware of Resveratrol’s, specifically, Trans-Resveratrol’s, benefits.
The myriad of clinically proven health benefits from moderate wine consumption, particularly through red wine, is due to the presence of Resveratrol.
Polyphenols, Resveratrol and their role in health
Over 8,000 polyphenolic compounds have been identified across various plant species. By far the most studied polyphenols are within the group of Flavonoids.
One of the major classes of Flavonoids are Flavanols, of which Resveratrol is a member.
Over the past decade, medical professionals, nutritionists and clinical researchers have begun to acknowledge and promote the consumption of plant based-foods, rich in polyphenols due to their high functioning antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and degenerative disease fighting properties.
In a 2018 review conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health into the role of Polyphenols in human health, the review acknowledged that a growing body of research confirmed that polyphenol consumption played a vital and unmistakable role in health through the regulation of weight, metabolism, chronic disease and cell proliferation.
The review then went on to conclude that through human and epidemiologic studies, various polyphenols have been proven to have properties that deliver preventative and therapeutic effects for cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer and obesity.
In the 2018 Harvard review, Resveratrol was specifically mentioned for its beneficial effects in protecting against
- Neurodegenerative Diseases – Encompassing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s through modulating multiple mechanisms of degenerative pathology, protecting neurons and inhibiting the neurotoxic effects of the beta-amyloid protein. Preventing neurotoxicity plays a vital role in building a neuroprotective defence against neurodegeneration.
- Inflammation - through reducing oxidative stress
- Cancer – through neutralizing free radicals and arresting cellular growth in tumors. (The review went on to point out that evidence suggests that polyphenols are specifically beneficial for certain types of cancer – colon, prostate, epithelial, endometrial and breast cancer).
- Cardiovascular Health – by improving ventricular health, reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure
- Cholesterol – Resveratrol blocks cholesterol oxidation, reducing LDL and lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 Diabetes –the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes through protection of beta cells from glucose toxicity, slowing of starch digestion and improved glycemic
- Obesity – Resveratrol increases adipocyte oxidation, inhibition of lipogenesis while reducing inflammation and increasing energy expenditure which improves weight loss and maintenance. Its protein-binding properties inhibit starch, lipid and protein digestion in the gastrointestinal tract.
Interestingly, the review went on to confirm the growing scientific interest in polyphenols and their role in interactions with gut microbiota.
It suggested growing evidence that polyphenols not only promoted beneficial gut bacteria but actively warded off invasive species such as E. coli and salmonella.
Resveratrol and longer life
Obviously, by protecting against degenerative and end of life conditions, Resveratrol consumption has a marked effect on life expectancy, but protection is not the only factor in Resveratrol’s life lengthening properties.
In a long-term study, Dr Richard A. Miller of the University of Michigan concluded that Resveratrol’s ability to mimic caloric restriction and offset the dangers of a high-calorie diet holds the key to extending our life span.
Where is Resveratrol found?
Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes, in blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, plums, pomegranate and in peanuts, most of which have been touted as superfoods at some point, completely overlooking the active ingredient.
Japanese Knotweed contains high concentrations of pure trans-resveratrol and that’s what we use in our supplements.
Japanese Knotweed has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for treating gastrointestinal conditions, circulatory health, inflammation and as a preventative cancer treatment – or more accurately, Resveratrol.
The differences between Trans-Resveratrol and Resveratrol
Trans-Resveratrol is simply the active ingredient in resveratrol – an important distinction to know when seeking supplements with the greatest efficacy.
For example, Love Life Supplement’s Trans-Resveratrol is a 98% strength, pure extract from Japanese Knotweed containing 500mg of Trans-Resveratrol and nothing else.
You may be asking that if Trans-Resveratrol is so readily available through wine, berries and fruits then why the need for a supplement and that all comes down to the dosage levels. Nearly every clinical trial starts with dosages of 250mg +.
To put that into context, a glass of red wine only contains 1mg of trans-resveratrol. Obviously, 250 daily glasses of red wine is not a long-term or recommended solution, a single, high quality supplement is far more achievable.