There are some products with important benefits and properties to take care of our health. This is the case of Resveratrol, whose interest lies in the fact that it is regarded as the “Molecule of Youth”…
- 1. What is Resveratrol?
- 2. Sources of Resveratrol
- 3. Resveratrol and Phytoestrogens
- 4. Effects of Resveratrol on our Health
- 5. Resveratrol and obesity
- 6. Resveratrol and liver disease
- 7. Resveratrol and glycemic control
- 8. Resveratrol and cardiovascular disease
- 9. Dose of Resveratrol
- 10. Contraindications
- 11. Who can benefit from taking resveratrol capsules?
- 12. Summary
- 13. Effectiveness of Resveratrol
- 14. Conclusion
- 15. Bibliography
- 16. Related Entries
What is Resveratrol?
In the last few years, the bioactive compounds from plants have become quite popular in the world of supplementation. Some of them are the so called flavonoids.
One of the substances that is part of this group is the renowned Resveratrol
For example, Red wine (from Vitis vinifera) has a high content, resulting in many beneficial effects for our health. For instance, it can play a protective role against age-related degenerative diseases.
Structurally, it is a polyphenol shaped with cis and trans 1 isomers
Sources of Resveratrol
Although wine is its most popular source, resveratrol is available in other foods. In fact, it can be synthesized both by plants and microorganisms.
Some of these foods are: Peanuts, Blackberries or Dark Chocolate
According to the bibliography, the best source of this molecule are the roots of the Fallopia japonica (Polygonum cuspidatum). But it is also available in berries like raspberries and blueberries, as well nuts like peanuts and pistachios1.
The Vitis Vinifera plant is one of the main sources of Resveratrol, more specifically, it is obtained from its fruit (grapes)
Resveratrol and Phytoestrogens
Resveratrol is classified as a phytoestrogen, which is a chemical component present in plants. In fact, it works as a shield against harmful environmental agents (radiation, insects…).
They have a similar molecular structure to that of estrogens
Therefore, they behave as agonists of estrogens receptors in our organism.
Currently, Resveratrol is considered one of the most powerful substances to buffer the effects of free radicals. For instance, those associated with premature cell aging.
Effects of Resveratrol on our Health
Resveratrol targets several objectives. That is why many studies highlight its ability to regulate different pathways.
Consequently, this compound will have the following properties:
- Blood glucose reduction
- Against neurodegenerative diseases
- Support against osteoporosis
However, many of these benefits have been observed in studies on cell cultures and animals
Resveratrol and obesity
Obesity is a disease with many factors involved. In fact, it is one of the biggest health problems worldwide. As we already know, obesity goes beyond an excess of body fat:
Actually, it alters many metabolic parameters and it can cause other pathologies
In clinical studies, resveratrol has proven its ability to inhibit the proliferation of adipocytes (cells that store body fat). Moreover, it also reduces the lipogenesis and stimulates the lipolysis and beta-oxidation.
In other words, it creates an anti-obesity environment at a metabolic level
Actually, these studies even suggest that resveratrol simulates the effects of a calorie restriction2.
Studies about weight loss
However, the results of a recent systematic review2 showed how resveratrol supplementation did not have remarkable effects on the weight or body fat of people with overweight or obesity.
Moreover, it did not have any effect on the basal metabolism. That is, it does not have a “thermogenic” effect that enhances the calorie expenditure.
It is important to emphasize that, according to the authors of the meta-analysis, most of the studies that reached a similar conclusion regarding body weight were short (not more than 2 months).
On the other hand, the adipose tissue produces a hormone called adiponectin. For example, some of its effects are:
- Enhancing the insulin sensitivity.
- Improving the endothelial function.
- Stimulating the oxidation of fatty acids.
- Reducing the glucose production in the liver.
- Producing anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective effects.
Resveratrol and liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) is the most common chronic liver disease in the world. This is due to its strong connection to overweight and obesity.
In fact, both conditions increase the accumulation of fat in the guts
For NAFL patients, taking 500mg of resveratrol2 daily reduced the severity of the disease.
However, this study was one of the few were the supplementation was related to weight and fat loss. Therefore, we cannot discard that a less severe disease is connected to fat loss rather than to the supplementation itself.
In 2016, there was a study conducted on NAFL patients who took 3 doses of 500mg of resveratrol or a placebo for six months4. Consequently, there was a weak connection between resveratrol supplementation and the loss of hepatic fat and transaminases (liver enzymes).
However, a study with a lower dose (150mg/day) did not report said improvements5.
Resveratrol and glycemic control
This substance has proven its effectiveness in animal studies. For instance, it improves the insulin sensitivity and the blood glucose level control. Although the results from studies conducted on humans are less clear up until now.
According to a meta-analysis6, resveratrol supplements lowered:
- The glucose and insulin levels on an empty stomach.
- The glycated hemoglobin (HBA1c; a mid-term glycemia measure).y
- Apart from improving the insulin resistance of those who suffer diabetes.
But these results did not occur on the non-diabetic population.
Even though these results may look promising, the current evidence does not follow this line. In fact, a recent study7 did not show differences when giving 40mg or 500mg to diabetes patients.
Resveratrol and cardiovascular disease
Above all, cardiovascular diseases are one of the most frequent complications caused by the metabolic syndrome. Particularly, hypertension is one of the main triggers.
Therefore, avoiding a high blood pressure can be an important prevention mechanism
Actually, resveratrol has proven to have an anti-hypertensive effect on different pathways9.
In fact, resveratrol seems to specially lower the systolic blood pressure, which is a key cardiovascular risk factor
Lower the blood pressure
A study10 reported how resveratrol supplementation improved the effects of medicines used against hypertension. Even though we still need more studies, these results suggest that resveratrol could reduce the amount of medicines used to treat this disease.
Reduce the atherosclerosis
Another factor for cardiovascular disease is the formation of atheroma plaques or atherosclerosis. These plaques tend to appear with the oxidation of LDL (blood cholesterol transport system). These oxidized particles remain in the arterial walls and trigger its inflammation and hardening.
There is a lot of controversy in terms of resveratrol being able to improve the lipid profile (LDL, HDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides). This is due to the fact that there are both studies for and against this fact.
But there was a study that showed how even if the LDL did not drop considerably, the oxidized LDL levels did9. As we mentioned, oxidized LDL triggers the formation of plaque, so we can say that resveratrol protects our cardiovascular health.
Relieve the inflammation
Combining resveratrol with calcium fructoborate (a substance that stabilizes intestinal resveratrol) reduces the inflammation markers and heart failure in ischemia patients.
Dose of Resveratrol
Above all, the exact dose of resveratrol will depend on individual factors such as health, age, sex and particular circumstances.
Currently, there is not solid scientific evidence about the optimal dose of resveratrol
In general, most of the doses tend to be well tolerated without producing harmful side effects.
Who can benefit from taking resveratrol capsules?
- Those who want to strengthen their cardiovascular system. The researchers have found out that resveratrol protects the heart and can prevent the onset of heart problems.
- Those who want to improve their sight. The studies have proven that resveratrol has the ability to modulate the angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels). Therefore, it can stop the abnormal growth of blood vessels, which can negatively affect our sight.
- Endurance athletes. Due to the antioxidant properties of resveratrol.
- Resveratrol belongs to the polyphenol group. In fact, it is available in many vegetable sources, such as grapes and red wine.
- Due to its antioxidant nature and many studies in cells and animals, resveratrol has become quite popular lately.
- Usually, it has anti-aging properties. Moreover, it can protect against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity or cancer, among others.
Effectiveness of Resveratrol
Quite often, the scientists have tried to prove its effectiveness against different metabolic complications. But in general, the results obtained in animal studies have not be replicated in clinical trial with humans.
This lack of concordance can be due to the great variability among studies:
- Supplementation period.
- Individual features of the participants.
- Combination with other substances.
- Kuršvietienė L, Stanevičienė I, Mongirdienė A, Bernatonienė J. Multiplicity of effects and health benefits of resveratrol. Med. 2016;52(3):148-155. doi:10.1016/j.medici.2016.03.003
- Christenson J, Whitby SJ, Mellor D, et al. The Effects of Resveratrol Supplementation in Overweight and Obese Humans: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2016;14(7):323-333. doi:10.1089/met.2016.0035
- Mohammadi-Sartang M, Mazloom Z, Sohrabi Z, Sherafatmanesh S, Barati-Boldaji R. Resveratrol supplementation and plasma adipokines concentrations? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacol Res. 2017;117:394-405. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2017.01.012
- Heebøll S, Kreuzfeldt M, Hamilton-Dutoit S, et al. Placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trial: High-dose resveratrol treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2016;51(4):456-463. doi:10.3109/00365521.2015.1107620
- Kantartzis K, Fritsche L, Bombrich M, et al. Effects of resveratrol supplementation on liver fat content in overweight and insulin-resistant subjects: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Diabetes, Obes Metab. 2018;20(7):1793-1797. doi:10.1111/dom.13268
- Thomas S, Browne H, Mobasheri A, Rayman MP. What is the evidence for a role for diet and nutrition in osteoarthritis? 2013. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/key011
- Bo S, Ponzo V, Ciccone G, et al. Six months of resveratrol supplementation has no measurable effect in type 2 diabetic patients. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pharmacol Res. 2016;111:896-905. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2016.08.010
- Bhatt JK, Thomas S, Nanjan MJ. Resveratrol supplementation improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Res. 2012;32(7):537-541. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2012.06.003
- Zordoky BNM, Robertson IM, Dyck JRB. Preclinical and clinical evidence for the role of resveratrol in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Biochim Biophys Acta – Mol Basis Dis. 2015;1852(6):1155-1177. doi:10.1016/J.BBADIS.2014.10.016
- Theodotou M, Fokianos K, Mouzouridou A, et al. The effect of resveratrol on hypertension: A clinical trial. Exp Ther Med. 2017;13(1):295-301. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3958