Get a Crush on Resveratrol
How this extract from wine and grapes can help fight brain aging, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more.
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Resveratrol has been touted—and doubted—as an all-round, age-reversing miracle supplement, partially based on early research showing that it extends the life of some animals, such as worms and killifish. Initial lab and animal studies also fueled its popularity by finding that resveratrol stimulates beneficial genes, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and enhances function on a cellular level.
How does this translate into tangible improvements in human well-being? In the past few years, dozens of clinical trials have looked at the effects of resveratrol on different health risks and conditions and have identified some specific benefits.
Reversing Brain Aging
“Our observed improvement in overall cognitive performance with resveratrol could potentially reverse cognitive aging by up to 10 years.” This statement was made by Australian researchers in the journal Nutrients, after comparing the effects of resveratrol and a placebo in a group of 129 post-menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 85.
A decline in mental function is a common complaint of women who are approaching or have gone through menopause. In this study, women took 75 mg of resveratrol, twice daily, for 12 months and experienced overall improvement in mental performance.
Related: Why You Should Take Resveratrol
An earlier study of older men and women found that 200 mg of resveratrol daily improved memory. Both studies also found that resveratrol improved blood flow to the brain, which typically declines with age.
In another study of young people who took 500 mg of resveratrol daily, blood flow to the brain also improved. However, there were no noticeable improvements in function, possibly because unlike older people, they were already functioning at their peak.
Fighting Type 2 Diabetes
Over a dozen studies of more than 600 type 2 diabetics found that resveratrol lowers blood sugar. Some studies also found an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol and less insulin resistance—an early trigger of diabetes where cells don’t respond to insulin, causing a rise in blood sugar. One study also found that resveratrol reduced stiffness of arteries, a condition that is more likely to develop with type 2 diabetes. Dosages of resveratrol in these studies varied from 100 mg to 1,000 mg daily.
Helping the Heart
Studies of more than 400 men and women have found several ways in which resveratrol improves heart function. Among people who were not taking medications but had some degree of heart disease or risk, the supplement reduced inflammation, systolic blood pressure (the top number), cholesterol, and triglycerides, all of which contribute to atherosclerosis when elevated.
In addition, studies show that resveratrol stimulates natural production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. Healthy dilation enhances blood flow and reduces stress on the heart by more efficiently delivering oxygen and nutrients. Most studies used doses of 75 or 100 mg daily for general heart health, and 150 mg daily or more to reduce blood pressure.
Another study tested 100 mg daily of resveratrol on 85 patients who were taking medications for heart failure. Compared to a placebo, taking resveratrol significantly improved ejection fraction, a critical indicator of how well the heart is working. In those taking the medications with a placebo, average ejection fraction improved by 3.2 percent in two months, compared to a 9.7-percent improvement with resveratrol during the same period.
Enhancing Bone Mineral Density
Resveratrol has improved bone mineral density in both women and men. In a study of 125 post-menopausal women, 75 mg of resveratrol, taken twice daily for 12 months, improved bone density sufficiently to reduce the probability of a hip or other major fracture during the next 10 years. In a study of 66 middle-aged men, bone density improved with 1,000 mg of resveratrol, taken daily for 16 weeks.
Another 6-month study compared a placebo and resveratrol among 192 people with type 2 diabetes. It found that 500 mg daily of resveratrol significantly reduced bone loss.
Infections, from flu to pneumonia to Covid-19, become deadly when the immune system generates excessive inflammation in a misguided attempt to beat a virus or bacteria. Lab, animal, and preliminary human trials have found that resveratrol reduces inflammation and helps to regulate the immune system to enhance its protective effects. Resveratrol benefits identified in other recent studies include:
- Reducing hot flashes and osteoarthritis pain and improving overall well-being in menopausal women (75 mg twice daily).
- Relieving ulcerative colitis symptoms (500 mg daily).
- Reducing symptoms more than medications alone (1,000 mg daily) when taken in addition to medications for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Increasing muscle mass more than exercise alone in men and women over the age of 65 (500 mg daily) when taken in conjunction with exercise.
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