Resveratrol offers anti-cancer, anti-aging, and heart healthy benefits
Article orginally posted on Very Well Fit, October 1, 2022
By Rebecca Jaspan, RD, CDCES
Updated on October 01, 2022
Medically reviewed by Anisha Shah, MD
Fact checked by Shereen Lehman, MS
Resveratrol's capacity to lessen the signs of aging in skin is one of its key advantages.
Consuming resveratrol through food or supplements is linked to a number of health benefits including protecting brain function, lowering blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol.
Most of the research done on resveratrol has been in animal and test tube studies using very high amounts. Of the human studies conducted, most have used the supplement form of resveratrol, which is in a concentrated form higher than you would get through food.
While these results are promising, more research needs to be done on humans before recommending resveratrol supplementation for certain health conditions.
Resveratrol has been researched for benefits such as promoting heart health, lowering cholesterol levels, promoting brain health, and slowing cancer growth. It is important to note that there is limited research done in humans to make conclusive recommendations. Instead, most of the studies have been done on animals or in test tubes.
Still, there may be benefits to taking a supplement and including foods high in resveratrol in your diet; but be sure to discuss the idea of supplementation with a healthcare provider first.
Here are some of the potential benefits of resveratrol. But keep in mind more research needs to be done before these impacts can be verified
May Promote Heart Health
Due its antioxidant properties, resveratrol has many heart health-promoting benefits. Research shows that resveratrol plays a role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol while nitric oxide helps blood vessels relax.
It is thought that resveratrol helps the body to produce more nitric oxide, therefore, creating a blood pressure-lowering effect. More research needs to be done to determine what specific dose of the resveratrol supplement is needed to assist in lowering blood pressure.
May Promote Brain Health
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are known to protect the brain and slow down cognitive decline and resveratrol is no exception. Many studies suggest that drinking red wine can slow age-related cognitive decline.
One study examined the role the compound plays in setting off a chain of events in the body that protects the brain cells from damage. The study showed that resveratrol interferes with beta-amyloids, which are protein fragments that form plaques indicating the development of Alzheimer's disease.
While these studies are promising, researchers are still unclear on how effective a resveratrol supplement is on brain health, which limits any conclusive recommendations for widespread use.
May Help Lower Cholesterol
There also is evidence to suggest that resveratrol helps to lower cholesterol levels by blunting the effect of the enzyme that promotes cholesterol production. In one mouse study, the researchers fed the mice a high protein, high polyunsaturated fat diet in addition to giving them resveratrol supplements.
At the end of the study, the mice's average total cholesterol levels decreased and their HDL or "good" cholesterol increased. It is not possible to make recommendations for humans based on studies in mice, though.
May Slow Cancer Growth
Additionally, resveratrol has been extensively studied in test tubes and animals for its potential role in helping to prevent and treat cancer, yielding mixed results. Resveratrol may inhibit cancer cell growth.
It also may change gene expression in cancer cells to slow their growth and interfere with the way hormones are expressed to prevent certain cancers from spreading. Much more research needs to be done in humans before any recommendations for human cancer treatment can be made.
Dosage and Preparation
There is not enough conclusive evidence to determine a dosage recommendation for resveratrol supplements in order to gain health benefits. As with many supplements, resveratrol is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Most supplements sold contain 250 to 500 milligrams, but this is a lower dose than is studied and what research has shown to be helpful.
Some people may wonder if they should drink more red wine to gain additional health benefits. The American Heart Association continues to recommend limiting alcoholic beverages to one per day for women and two per day for men. You can certainly include food sources of resveratrol such as grapes, grape juice, peanuts, cocoa, and berries, to your diet, but amounts to achieve a health benefit are unknown.