Within the last decade, resveratrol—a polyphenol found in red wine—has stormed into the nutritional supplement arena with a reception befitting a superstar. While I was originally a bit skeptical of the benefits of resveratrol given one falsified study, I’ve kept my eye on it and I’m firmly convinced it’s the key to better heart health and longevity.
So, what is resveratrol and what are the benefits of resveratrol? It’s a flavonoid antioxidant present in grape skins and red grape juice. In plants, it’s naturally synthesized as a defense mechanism to protect against invading fungi. In many laboratory studies, involving cell cultures and animals ranging from fruit flies to mammals, resveratrol supplementation has been found to promote longevity.
But what really impressed me as a cardiologist was research showing resveratrol helps to keep your blood flowing as it should…
Health Benefits of Resveratrol Studied
In an Australian study of overweight hypertensive men and post-menopausal women, researchers monitored resveratrol’s effect on the brachial artery, the major artery of the upper arm. Impaired blood flow in this vessel is linked to risk factors such as obesity and hypertension. After consuming of a highly bioactive form of resveratrol, participants demonstrated a significant and rapid increase of blood flow within the hour.
Resveratrol works its heart-support “magic” in two ways. First off, it protects the endothelium, the delicate inner layer of your arteries, from oxidative free radical damage. Second, resveratrol helps to protect the production of nitric oxide, the critical chemical produced by the endothelium that keeps blood vessels optimally dilated.
But heart health is just a tip of the iceberg. There have now been more than 4,400 studies on the benefits of resveratrol to date, showing that it helps to protect your entire body.
The Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Protecting the endothelial lining of your arteries—so blood flows as it should.
Reducing oxidative stress, which prevents premature aging of cells.
Blocking the production of nf kappa b, a powerful, noxious inflammatory agent.
Cellular support that improves mental function, and promotes oral/dental health.
Cancer suppression by preventing cancer cell replication and enhancing cancer cell death in a variety of laboratory cell culture studies.
Muscle health, by reducing muscle wasting associated with diabetes and cancer.
How much resveratrol should you take? As with every nutrient there is a “sweet spot” for dosing. If take 30 mg of resveratrol daily, which is the same dose used in the Australian study I mentioned earlier. But you don’t want to exceed 250 mg a daily, which may turn off the cancer-suppressing benefits of resveratrol.
Now it’s your turn: Do you include resveratrol in your supplement program?
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