Resveratrol would protect the body from metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and fatty liver disease. It would help reduce inflammation, the effects of which extend to the brain, thereby improving cognitive performance. (1)
Let's look at where resveratrol is found, what all its benefits are and how to take it.
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring molecule found primarily in the skin of red grapes and in the root of fallopia japonica (polygonum cuspidatum), a herbaceous plant native to East Asia in Japan, China and Korea.
The actual function of Resveratrol is to protect these plants from fungal attack and the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. It was in 1992 that it was determined that it might have cardioprotective effects by studies on people who consumed red wine, although subsequent studies have indicated that to benefit from the resveratrol present in red wine you would have to drink about 100 glasses.
Resveratrol may have cardioprotective effects thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to activate a type of enzyme called sirtuin1 (SIRT1), which appears to play an important role in the ageing process and longevity.
Let's Take a Look at the Direct Effects of Resveratrol and How it Could Benefit by Slowing Down the Ageing Process.
In Cases of Obesity and Overweight
In an experiment on 11 obese people given a daily dose of 150 mg resveratrol for 30 days, calorie restriction-like effects were observed, i.e. as if they had been on a diet. Moreover, systolic blood pressure decreased (approximately 5mm-Hg), they experienced improved glucose, insulin, and triglyceride circulation compared to the placebo-only group. (2)
Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were given 300-500 mg of resveratrol daily for 3 months. They showed a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, as well as hepatic steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver or increased lipids in liver cells and can be a source of complications in case of obesity, alcohol intoxication (associated with excessive alcohol consumption) or liver disorders (such as type 2 diabetes)); and a reduction in inflammation markers such as NF-kB and increased insulin sensitivity. (3) (4)
Resveratrol treatment has been shown to reduce neuronal inflammation and improve cognitive performance by mitigating reactive oxygen species, inhibiting pro-inflammatory molecules characteristic of Alzheimer's. (5)
There are two studies in which healthy people were given doses of 1-2.5 grams of resveratrol. The result was a decrease in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) or somatomedin C which is associated with tumour formation and metastasis. In addition, resveratrol treatment increased a variety of cancer-detoxifying enzymes such as glutathione S-transferase and glucuronosyltransferase (6)(7).
Enhance Athletic Performance
Resveratrol appears to function as an adaptogen as, in experiments, resveratrol provided benefits in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and maximal oxygen consumption compared to exercise alone in a group of men aged 65-70 years (8) (250 mg supplementation).
In another study involving elderly men and women, participants showed increases in mitochondrial density, muscle fibre and maximal oxygen consumption compared to exercise alone. (9) (500 mg supplementation).
In contrast, in a study of young men (22 years), this group did not show increased aerobic or anaerobic capacity, muscle fibre adaptations or substrate utilisation during exercise (e.g. glucose and glycerol utilisation during exercise time). (10)(supplementation with 150 mg)
To promote longevity
On the one hand, calorie restriction has been shown to increase longevity in many species and this is achieved by Sirtuins (1-7) or SIRTs, proteins that promote longevity. Resveratrol, on the other hand, is an activator of SIRT1 and thus has effects that mimic calorie restriction.
The mechanisms by which the anti-ageing effect of resveratrol takes place
By activating sirtuins:
Resveratrol binds to sirtuins by altering their affinity for the coenzyme NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adeine Dinucleoutide) and its protein substrates, thereby increasing sirtuin activity.
By activating autophagy:
Autophagy is an organic mechanism that is activated under cellular stress to remove unnecessary or dysfunctional parts of cells, as well as to mobilise energy reserves of the organism. Calorie restriction (CR) stimulates autophagy through activation of SIRT1 (11).
Resveratrol induces autophagy by activating sirtuins, but also by inhibiting the activity of mTOR (target of rapamycin in mammalian cells), a protein present in mammalian cells whose functions include promoting anabolic metabolism and inhibiting the induction of autophagy (12).
By activating xenohormesis:
Humankind has developed the ability to consume a wide variety of plants. Plants, both in their development and under stress conditions, produce a number of compounds that have been called phytochemicals, including flavonols, anthocyanins and resveratrol. In plants, these substances attract pollinators, or serve as antioxidants or anti-appetitives (to defend against being eaten by predatory species).
In humans, phytochemicals can activate the body's reaction to cellular stress, conferring protective effects. This is known as xenohormesis as it activates protective mechanisms that not only protect cells from the phytochemicals but also protect against the possible deterioration of our environment and the action of harmful effects to which we are exposed on a daily basis such as pollution or excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation. In other words, it makes the body alert, defensive or resistant to possible aggression.
The protective effects of Resveratrol are achieved through various cellular stress responses with the help of Sirtuin1 and other enzymes. Anti-inflammatory activity, metabolic adaptations and neuronal protection are strengthened, which are similar to the effects of fasting or calorie restriction.
If you wish to supplement with Resveratrol, see what you should bear in mind
- Choose Trans-Resveratrol over Cis-Resveratrol because it is more stable in providing its benefits.
- Adequate absorption of Resveratrol is to take it during the first meal of the day with a moderate amount of fat (18g fat, 70g carbohydrate and 12g protein) for example; compared to a high-fat breakfast (45g fat, 60g carbohydrate and 30g protein). (13)
- Resveratrol absorption is optimised when taken together with piperine, a compound found naturally in black pepper. The benefits occur primarily at the level of cerebral blood flow, which should have an effect on cognitive function. (14)
- A glass of wine contains approximately 1.8 mg of resveratrol, while the therapeutic dose (a supplement) ranges from 100-1000 mg. Human experiments have shown that up to 5 grams of Resveratrol per day can be tolerated without causing toxicity or significant side effects. However, 2.5 grams or more may cause stomach upset, flatulence, nausea and even diarrhoea in some people.
- It has been observed that Resveratrol supplementation may interfere with the metabolism of other drugs. Resveratrol inhibits cytochrome P450 or CIP enzymes that are involved in the metabolism of drugs containing statins, anti-arrhythmic agents and anti-histamines. This inhibition may reduce the metabolic clearance of certain drugs leading to increased bioavailability and risk of toxicity. (15)