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Resveratrol: Benefits for our health

Resveratrol: Benefits for our health

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”…

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.

Chemical structure of trans- and cis-resveratrol

Structurally, it is a polyphenol shaped with cis and trans 1 isomers

Resveratrol performs antioxidant tasks in plants and protects them against the damage caused by the sun

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.

A bunch of grapes

The Vitis Vinifera plant is one of the main sources of Resveratrol, more specifically, it is obtained from its fruit (grapes)

Since many studies have proven its low toxicity, it has become a functional ingredient due to its potential benefits for health

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.

Old woman profile

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.

In fact, resveratrol can help us treat some diseases and pathologies. Above all, those that affect women: symptoms of menopause, osteoporosis,…

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:

  • Cardio-protection
  • Anti-platelet
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Blood glucose reduction
  • Anticancer
  • Against neurodegenerative diseases
  • Support against osteoporosis

However, many of these benefits have been observed in studies on cell cultures and animals

In order to assess the functionality of resveratrol, it is necessary to conduct these studies on humans

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

Anti-obesity effect

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).

In addition, most of these studies did not change the diet of the participants. So 2 months are extremely short in order to appreciate significant differences

Adiponectin increase

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.
Low levels of this hormone, together with high leptin levels (another hormone produce in the fatty tissue) result in: more adiposity, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk.
According to a meta-analysis, resveratrol effectively increases the adiponectin concentration. Regardless of the dose, duration of the treatment or the initial levels of this hormone and leptin. Although the authors emphasize that their results should be taken with a grain of salt3

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.

Nevertheless, another study from the same review reported a drop in the intra-hepatic fat levels. But there was not a significant loss of weight or fat.

Long-term benefits

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.

Worldwide, there could be a reduction of the pro-inflammatory state in hepatic patients. Although this would involve minor complications in the short and long term

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.

On the contrary, 250mg of resveratrol together with medicines designed to control the glycemia provided superior results than just taking the medicines alone8.⁠

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.

Resveratrol anti-hypertensive effect

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

However, it is completely regarded as safe since it is a natural product. The most reasonable thing would be to take the dose that comes in the product prospect.

Contraindications

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.
The best resveratrol supplements are available at the HSN store. Click on the link to access the shop

Summary

  • 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:

  • Doses.
  • Supplementation period.
  • Individual features of the participants.
  • Combination with other substances.
Even if we cannot provide specific recommendations, it seems that resveratrol is more effective among subjects with cardiovascular problems. Moreover, it can support treatments against hypertension and diabetes

Conclusion

There is not doubt that resveratrol has promising results at a pre-clinical level. Although this still has to be proven in humans with controlled long term studies with bigger samples

Bibliography

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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

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