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What Is Resveratrol?
If you’re like most adults, you’re probably looking for easy and safe ways to keep your body healthy and protect yourself from cancer and heart disease. While there are hundreds of OTC and prescription medications that are targeted to protect the body and improve overall health, it can be difficult to know what to take.
Natural supplements can be good options improving and maintaining health because the ingredients are often safe for most people to consume as they often derive from many of the foods we eat.
Resveratrol supplements have gained in popularity within the last few years due to their benefits. We will supply you with all the information you need, from benefits to side effects, to help you determine whether or not resveratrol is the right supplement for you.
Resveratrol is a compound found in red wine, red grape skins, purple grape juice, mulberries, blueberries, and small amounts of peanuts. The compound is a powerful antioxidant, which protects the plant (such as the berry plant) from environmental stresses.
As you may already know, antioxidants can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals1. Damage can lead to cancer, arthritis, and other health issues. Antioxidants are naturally found in many foods and can be easily consumed through supplements, which is why resveratrol has gained popularity.
Natural resveratrol is produced in the skin of grapes and other berries to protect against sun damage and fungal diseases. Red wine has more resveratrol than other types of foods because the grape skins are part of the fermentation process.
Although you can get a small amount of resveratrol from drinking a glass of red wine, an eight-ounce glass of red wine only has about 1 to 2 mg of resveratrol, so many people opt to take the supplement.
The dosage you take depends on why you are taking resveratrol and the type of application (pill, lotion). As with any supplement, you are likely to come across a variety of recommended dosages on the Internet. It’s best to stick to the dosing directions on your supplement and if you have questions or want to adjust the dosage, talk with your doctor.
Even though resveratrol is relatively safe, it’s good to consider smaller doses for long-term use and adjust accordingly. If you are planning on taking resveratrol for cardiovascular health or insulin sensitivity, consider 5 to 10 mg per day.
If you are healthy and have no specific health reason for taking the supplement, you may want to try 150 to 445 mg. The range is broad, and there’s no clear indication of what’s considered to be “too high” of a dosage that’s why you should always follow supplement instructions.
Keep in mind, like many supplements, that your body may react to resveratrol differently than other people who take the supplement. Monitor how you feel and don’t ignore anything that doesn’t seem normal.
What Are The Top Benefits?
Many people assume that since resveratrol is a natural antioxidant, the supplement has the same benefits as other antioxidants. Like many supplements, there’s limited research available on resveratrol but here are some of how resveratrol may benefit you:
While resveratrol isn’t the magic elixir for the “fountain of youth” the polyphenol in foods rich with resveratrol may help increase blood flow during mental tasks, but unclear if it prevents dementia. Cancers may be prevented as may heart disease, which are two diseases that are often age-related.
For more information in regards to resveratrol and aging, check out this video:
For years, medical professionals have gone back and forth about whether or not red wine is actually “heart healthy.” While resveratrol’s effect on heart health needs more testing, the supplement may be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease.
At this time, human testing of resveratrol effects are extremely limited, but the supplement was effective at lowering blood pressure in hypertensive rats2.
Improves Good Cholesterol
Along with the potential to prevent cardiovascular disease and improve heart health overall, resveratrol supplements may help to manage cholesterol3 by raising the good levels and lowering the bad.
Beneficial To People With Diabetes
If you struggle with managing your diabetes, resveratrol supplements may make it a little easier. Not only might the supplement increase your sensitivity to insulin but it may protect against oxidative stress, decrease inflammation4, and help to keep your blood sugars low.
Fight Cancer Cell Growth
In animal and test-tube studies, resveratrol has promising results in fighting gastric, colon, skin, breast and prostate cancers. The supplement may prevent cancer cells from spreading5 and even change gene expression in cancer cells (which can inhibit growth).
Resveratrol may also be beneficial in reducing the severity of acne and helping to manage the symptoms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What Are The Potential Side Effects?
As with many supplements, there’s little evidence to suggest that resveratrol is dangerous but you should talk with your doctor before taking the supplement to see if you’re an ideal candidate.
Resveratrol is not recommended and may be unsafe, for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have a hormone-sensitive condition like breast, uterine, or ovarian cancers or endometriosis, resveratrol may act like estrogen and worsen your condition.
If you have a bleeding disorder, resveratrol may interfere with and increase the risk of bleeding. Avoid taking the supplement if you are scheduled for surgery, due to the increased risk of bleeding.
Certain medications like blood thinners and NSAID medications may interact with resveratrol supplements. Studies also suggest that the supplement can negatively interact6 with a variety of other medications so you should always read the fine print and double check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Even if you seem like an ideal candidate for resveratrol, don’t ignore any new symptoms that occur when you are taking the supplement.
How To Supplement Your Diet With Resveratrol
The most common way to take resveratrol supplements is in a capsule or tablet form. There are transdermal patches and lotions available, too. People who prefer to consume their supplements in a nutritional powder can enjoy the benefits of resveratrol in the form of powder.
It’s not uncommon for people who use supplements to take more than one. While it’s often safe, you must be aware of what you can “stack” with resveratrol. Always double check with your doctor to make sure that your supplements and any other medications do not interfere with resveratrol. You may need to adjust your dosage as well.
Here are some supplements that are safe and suitable to stack with resveratrol:
- Bioflavonoids (Genistein or Quercetin)
Alternatives To Resveratrol
If you are hesitant to take resveratrol supplements or you just want to wait until there’s more scientific evidence about whether or not it’s the best option for you, there are alternatives you can try.
The alternatives that you choose will depend on your health goals. Here are some options:
Drink Your Resveratrol
Since resveratrol comes from red wine, why not drink wine? If you’re going to opt for a glass of red wine, don’t think that more is better. Moderation is the key, which means one drink for women of all ages and men older than 65 or two drinks for men 65 and under. A serving of wine is five ounces.
Eat Your Resveratrol
Don’t drink wine? You may be able to reap the benefits of eating grapes, berries, and other foods that have resveratrol.
Regardless if you’re trying to keep your mind sharp or your heart healthy, exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and can prevent a variety of health problems.
It’s Never Too Late To Be Healthy
As people age, they often turn to supplements to fix health problems or to make up for poor lifestyle choices. Supplements may be helpful, but it’s never too late to start a healthy routine that consists of a well-balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate hydration, staying physically and mentally active, and getting enough sleep.
People often get excited when there are supplements made with ingredients or are derived from foods we are familiar with like red wine and other berries. Despite the fact that resveratrol has been on the market for awhile and it is more or less safe, there is a lot of evidence missing when it comes to its efficacy.
Given all of the studies and research that has been done already, resveratrol is a promising supplement, and while it may not be the “cure-all” for everything from aging to cancer, it may be beneficial to a diverse population of people with a variety of health concerns.
Scientific & Reference Citations