Prevalent in the skins and peels of grapes and berries, resveratrol may hold the secret to staying young. Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant commonly found in red wine. Recent studies in mice found not only that may resveratrol promote longer cell life; it could also help prevent blood vessel damage and lower cholesterol. While there’s more research needed, resveratrol offers a glimmer of hope to those looking for an effective anti-aging agent.
Read on to learn more about resveratrol and its many benefits.
Can resveratrol help slow the aging process?
One of the main takeaways from recent research on resveratrol is it helps stimulate cellular proteins called sirtuins. Sirtuins, which control a few biological pathways, work with the aging process. Therefore, by stimulating these sirtuins, resveratrol may promote longer cell life.
The hope is that recent research on resveratrol could eventually lead to resveratrol-mimicking drugs designed to slow aging, which Harvard Medical School’s Dr. David Sinclair commented on. “Now that we know where and how resveratrol works, we can engineer even better molecules that more precisely and effectively trigger its effects," Sinclair said.
Another study, published in Biology Letters, involved studying the effects of resveratrol on several different animal species, including fruit flies, Mexican fruit flies, turquoise killifish, yeast, nematodes and mice. “Overall, our results indicate that resveratrol acts as a life-extending agent,” reads the study. “The effect is most potent in yeast and nematodes, with diminished reliability in most higher-order species.”
As you can see, many researchers believe in the positive effects of resveratrol, especially when it comes to anti-aging and treating illnesses like cardiovascular disease and heart disease.
Other possible benefits of resveratrol
Slowing down aging isn’t the only possible benefit found during studies of resveratrol. The antioxidant also shows the potential to help treat a variety of cancers, hearing loss and type 2 diabetes.
For example, University of Michigan School of Medicine assistant professor of surgical oncology, Michael Nicholl, recently found that resveratrol can aid in cancer treatment by making cells more susceptible to radiation treatments. Cancer patients receiving radiation treatment, even those with aggressive tumors, could see a full recovery with the help of resveratrol. That said, there haven’t been any clinical trials on the effect of resveratrol on human cells as of now.
Another study from Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital showed resveratrol could be effective in the treatment of hearing loss. The study involved giving resveratrol to several rats and exposing them to long-term loud noise. "We've shown that by giving animals resveratrol, we can reduce the amount of hearing and cognitive decline," said the study’s lead author and director of the Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, Dr. Michael Seidman.
Resveratrol could help treat ailments like heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes as the antioxidant mimics calorie restriction. It also shows potential in preventing insulin resistance, which can sometimes lead to diabetes.
Sources of resveratrol
While resveratrol is plentiful in wine and grapes, especially red wine, you’d need a lot of either to see the same effects found with mice. In fact, you’d likely need to drink around 60 liters of wine per day, which would be counter-intuitive as too much alcohol could do major long-term damage to your body. To avoid this, some people turn to resveratrol supplements.
Before taking any resveratrol supplements, it’s best to consult your doctor. Resveratrol supplements haven’t yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, so your doctor may recommend not taking them. Even if they do give you the okay to take resveratrol, chances are your doctor won’t have a clear idea of the right dosage.
Resveratrol supplements range in dose size from 75 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams or more. While research hasn’t found any severe negative side effects to taking resveratrol supplements, it’s better to start small and ramp up. Some researchers also believe resveratrol could disrupt the effectiveness of medications for arthritis and pain.
There’s a lot of potential with resveratrol. Clinical trials show it can help prevent and treat a litany of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. One of the most interesting things about resveratrol is it may help slow the aging process.
All that said, there’s no concrete evidence on the benefits of resveratrol. Practice caution when trying to add more resveratrol to your diet. And consult your doctor before taking supplements or making major changes to your diet.