What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a natural phenol that is produced when certain plants like grapes are under attack by bacteria or fungus. It is found in the skin of red grapes and other fruits, and was initially mentioned in 1939 by a man named M. Takaoka and recorded in a Japanese article.

Inflammation control. A University of Buffalo study published in the September 2010 issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism verified for the first time that resveratrol controls oxidative stress and inflammation in people. Twenty healthy volunteers took a 40-milligram (mg) resveratrol extract or a placebo for six weeks, and subsequent blood tests revealed lower levels of inflammatory cytokines in the resveratrol group. Inflammation lies at the root of devastating age-related illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s, Dr. Maroon notes.

Cancer prevention and treatment. In a 2010 laboratory trial at the University of Rochester Medical Center, investigators discovered that resveratrol may help combat pancreatic cancer. They added 50 mg of the supplement to one group of human pancreatic cancer cells and nothing to the other and found that the cancer cells treated with resveratrol responded more positively to chemotherapy. Other research suggests that resveratrol guards against cancers of the skin, breast, liver, lung and colon.

Protection against diabetes. Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report that resveratrol improves glucose metabolism in adults with prediabetes.

Improved heart and brain health. A March 2010 review in Genes & Nutrition summarized existing reports on the cardioprotective and longevity aspects of resveratrol, which protects the linings of blood vessels in the heart to prevent blood clots and other damage. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 22 healthy adults reported in the June 2010 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, British investigators at Northumbria University found that resveratrol increases oxygen uptake and blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain (the site of cognition and problem solving).



Schröder, Joachim (March 6, 2010). “Discovery of resveratrol”. Resveratrol. http://www.biologie.uni-freiburg.de/data/bio2/schroeder/Resveratrol.html#Resveratrol_Discovery.

Joseph C. Maroon, MD, clinical professor of neurological surgery and Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh. Dr. Maroon is the team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and author of The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life (Atria).


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