Resveratrol supplements, wine, and fruits or vegetables that contain resveratrol keep cells healthy and contribute to healthy aging.

Is all this mere speculation or an excuse to eat more Ben & Jerry’s™ Chocolate ice cream? The good news is that science seems to suggest that there may be more truth than hype to claims of resveratrol’s health benefit. No less than a study from the esteemed Harvard Medical School found that high amounts of red wine extract containing the phytochemical resveratrol was linked to longer life spans and slowed the effects of aging.39

Lab and animal research confirms that resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant—one study showed it was more protective against free radical damage than both vitamins C and E combined. If you’re wondering exactly what makes resveratrol so special and more beneficial than other antioxidants, then you are in good company. Researchers all over the world have been and continue to conduct experiments and clinical studies to figure out the mechanisms by which resveratrol exerts numerous health benefits—from anti-wrinkle to anti-cancer effects. In essence, most findings seemed to indicate that resveratrol does the following:15,39-40

  • Activates cellular pathways that are involved in antioxidant activities, which protect the body from free radical damage.
  • Counteracts inflammation associated with many diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic sinusitis.
  • Helps regulate cellular activity (including cellular-level energy produced by mitochondria) and immune system response.
  • Helps maintain the health of our blood vessels and heart.
  • Suppresses genes that trigger and promote the uncontrolled cellular growth in cancer.

All of these effects basically keep our systems from degenerating over time at the cellular level—deterioration that typically happens as we age. Some research also suggests that one way resveratrol is able to do all these things by activating longevity genes (sirtuins) that control factors which determine lifespan.26

Results of these initial studies have been challenged by others indicating that the testing chemicals used may have influenced the activation of these genes.26

With or Without the Longevity Gene: Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Even as scientists continue to conduct studies into the exact mechanisms by which resveratrol and sirtuin genes work, research continues to indicate specific potential benefits of resveratrol and resveratrol metabolites (which stay in the bloodstream longer),18 including:

  • asthma prevention and control41
  • cancer chemoprevention and overcoming chemoresistance18,42
  • cardiovascular protection18
  • controlling symptoms of COPD43
  • intervention to slow the progress of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases18
  • prevention of metabolic disorders, such as obesity3,44
  • treatment and prevention for diabetes and related heart disease, nephropathy, and neuropathy19,21-22,45
  • helping avoid vision loss from eye diseases (e.g., age related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, macular telangiectasia and diabetic retinopathy )46-50
  • prevention of liver disease51
  • antiviral effects against influenza52
  • reducing symptoms of endometriosis and uterine contractions associated with dysmenorrhea23,53
  • improving ED and male infertility54-55
  • protection against radiation illness and thyroid cancer from nuclear plant accidents and other sources of radioactive material56
  • counteracting the appearance of aging skin (e.g., wrinkles and hyperpigmentation) caused by chronic sun exposure12,57-58
  • providing natural sunscreen protection against UV damage57
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Another word for polyphenol, a biologically
active plant compound.
Antioxidants help keep cells healthy and functioning primarily by
removing unstable free radicals created by oxidizing agents.

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