No matter whether you know its ability to build muscle, relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, or fight free radicals, there is no doubt that resveratrol is booming.
Before exploring the five biggest health benefits of this powerful antioxidant, let's explore what it really is, study where it occurs in nature, and take a quick look at the best ways to incorporate it into your diet.
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol (also called 3,4-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene if you want technical information) is a naturally occurring polyphenol that belongs to the stilbene class of phytochemicals. It is also classified as phytoaxelin, a type of compound that is produced by plants under attack.
Polyphenolic substances have two phenols, organic compounds characterized by their hydroxyl (-OH) groups, circular rings linked to an ethylene bridge.
Stilbenoids are a subclass of polyphenols and represent a group of naturally occurring compounds produced in plant tree borders and leaves as stress metabolites to combat fungal diseases and ionizing radiation.
In the wild, resveratrol has been found in more than seventy plant species, where it is used to damage the plant or to attack fungi or other bacteria.
Resveratrol is a natural phytochemical produced to combat infections, mechanical injury and UV radiation, but its diverse biological and cellular activity makes it useful to humans. As a polyphenol, resveratrol has a strong antioxidant effect.
Because resveratrol is an antioxidant, it is believed to help prevent oxidative stress in the body by removing free radicals, thereby minimizing damage to reactive oxygen species on cells and the body. Free radicals play a vital role in the fight against pathogens, but they can damage DNA, adipose tissue and proteins.
Although further research is still needed, preliminary studies show that resveratrol has promising potential in humans to improve heart and brain health, and to fight aging and inflammation. Preliminary animal studies have even suggested a link between resveratrol and the reduction in diabetes-related deaths.
Where does it naturally occur?
Resveratrol has been found in more than seventy species of plants, including grapefruit seeds and skin, peanuts, mulberries, raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries and pistachios, albeit in isolated amounts. It is also naturally found in high concentrations in the Japanese knotweed.
What is its history?
The early use of resveratrol in its health benefits dates back thousands of years to Indian tribes who consumed antioxidant with ground fermented grape juice. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted, first at the molecular level, then on animals and humans to test the ability of resveratrol to treat a range of ailments and diseases. In 2020, these studies will continue and expand cancer, heart disease, and other important causes of early death in Western civilizations.
How is it consumed?
On a moderate diet, resveratrol can be consumed naturally, especially if the diet is high in fruits and nuts, as mentioned above. Although trace amounts of antioxidants have been found in a wide variety of foods, the amount of resveratrol can be difficult to determine, as inconsistencies are found in foods grown in different regions and even in different seasons.
For this reason, one of the most popular ways of consuming antioxidants is dietary supplements, whose tablets and powders are readily available online or in pharmacies and health food stores.
Health benefits of resveratrol
While research into the potential use of resveratrol is ongoing, many links have already been established between antioxidants and disease management and general well-being. Let's look at five key benefits.
This lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure is known to contribute to life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart problems. In fact, according to a CDC report, all three people in the US have high blood pressure.
Numerous studies over the past decade have shown a link between moderate consumption of red wine and a fall in blood pressure. Why? The grapes used to make red wine are naturally high in resveratrol.
A recent study published by King's College London in collaboration with other organizations, such as the British Heart Foundation, has found convincing evidence of the benefits of resveratrol in reducing the cardiovascular health of hypertension.
In this study, the researchers induced hypertension in mice by administration of angiotensin II, a hormone that causes vasoconstriction (a narrowing of blood vessels, thereby raising blood pressure).
They then placed mice on a diet high in resveratrol-containing foods and monitored their blood pressure for a period of fifteen days. At that very moment, scientists noticed a significant drop in blood pressure in mice.
This promotes longevity
We all know that aging is (unfortunately) inevitable. Nonetheless, the enormous potential of resveratrol has led more and more researchers to explore its potential to slow down the aging process and in some cases even reverse the visible signs of aging.
The physiological process of aging is characterized by a slow deterioration of biological and cellular function, which increases a person's susceptibility to disease and eventually death.
Some diseases commonly associated with aging include heart disease and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. In animal studies, caloric restriction (CR) helps to minimize the risk of developing these conditions.
Numerous studies have shown that CR can help extend the life span of non-human species, which can be beneficial to humans. But calorie restriction cannot be used in humans for long periods of time – we just like to eat too much.
However, there are chemical compounds, such as resveratrol, that mimic the positive effects of CR without having to insist on reducing food and that could theoretically improve human health.
According to this literature review, resveratrol has been shown to be effective in extending the life of model organisms up to 60 percent of the time. It is worth noting that studies investigating the effect of resveratrol on the aging process are still in their infancy and more research is needed.
Helps relieve joint pain
In addition to lowering blood pressure and promoting longevity in some subjects, resveratrol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve joint pain.
Let's see how it works.
Inflammation is natural and forms part of the normal immune response of the human body in response to irritating or harmful stimuli such as physical injury or infection. Inflammation usually initiates the healing process and helps repair damaged cells or tissues. Without it, the infections and wounds would have swelled, which could cause problems for the body.
Joint pain is often felt during periods of inflammation as the body works to heal itself. This can become a problem if the pain becomes permanent. It can even develop into chronic inflammation, where instead of healing, it begins to erode joints, and that's where the anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol come from.
Studies have shown that resveratrol plays an important role in inhibiting TNF-alpha by helping to reduce or even stop the long-term effects of joint swelling and pain.
Protects against neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease are caused by oxidative stress, a condition caused by a balance between antioxidants and the body's reactive oxygen species.
The increasing number of neurodegenerative conditions has led to a surge in research into polyphenolic compounds such as resveratrol to determine whether their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can be used to protect against these diseases.
How Can Resveratrol Help?
Accumulation of free radicals in the body can damage genetic material and proteins, destroy membrane structure, reduce membrane potential in mitochondria, the respiratory cell organelles, and increase plasma membrane permeability to calcium cations.
Central nervous system (CNS) cells such as neurons are particularly susceptible to the effects of stroke / ischemia, convulsions and neurotoxins. Their main reason? Oxidative stress.
As an antioxidant, resveratrol has been shown to protect against a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.
Although its exact mode of action has not yet been discovered, numerous studies have shown the chelating, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this metal. Moreover, resveratrol has been shown to activate a subclass of deacetylase known as sirtuin 1 (SIRT1).
SIRT1 is defined as a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of aging conditions. By activating SIRT1, resveratrol can protect neuroblastoma cells from cytotoxicity and oxidative stress damage.
Slows down atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a progressive condition characterized by the accumulation of fibrous tissues and lipids in the body's vascular system (especially arteries), which form plaques. When plaque builds up in the body, it can harden in the blood vessels, narrowing the blood vessels and limiting blood flow to tissues and organs throughout the body.
Therefore, atherosclerosis is an important cause of cardiovascular disease and accounts for about one third of deaths in the modern world.
This can lead to life-threatening health problems such as stroke, heart attack and, at worst, death. Moreover, it can target any body artery, regardless of location, so everything from the brain to the feet and kidneys to the pelvis to the heart is all fair game.
To produce atherosclerosis, cholesterol (low density) in lipoproteins is oxidized before it accumulates in macrophages, which causes the formation of foam cells – an important step in the progression of atherosclerosis.
This is where resveratrol helps.
The antioxidant effectively slows down this process by interrupting initiation, interrupting progression, preventing (low density) modification of lipoprotein cholesterol, regulating vasoconstriction and vasodilation, neutralizing reactive oxygen species, and preventing platelet agglomeration, which ultimately prevents atherosclerosis.
By now, you are probably interested in the benefits and tremendous potential of resveratrol, which can slow down and even cure various diseases that affect humans today.
In addition to lowering blood pressure, slowing the aging process and promoting longevity, alleviating joint pain, protecting against neurodegenerative diseases, and slowing atherosclerosis, recent studies have found links between antioxidant and many other health benefits.
As more case studies and anecdotal evidence become available, more research is being conducted to further investigate the potential of resveratrol.
While in the early stages, some studies have shown promising results on the effects of antioxidants on cancer and other diseases.
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