Sometimes, it feels as if we’re constantly being bombarded with advertisements about the newest trendy supplement which promises to cure all our problems, clear our skin and give us the energy to run through a football field, thrice. So it’s only natural for us to have our doubts when we’re presented with a new supplement, not seldom one that’s made out of things we haven’t even heard of previously.
How do we decide whether a particular supplement is worth a shot?
Once we’re presented with all the facts regarding the supplement, it’s up to us to weigh down the pros, cons and the general cost of it, before deciding if we should go for it.
Today, I will try to do just that. Firstly, explain what resveratrol is, where it comes from, which its benefits are and then how to use it if you do decide it’s worth it. And, of course, I will present you with the potential side-effects of the supplement, so that you are prepared for everything. Knowledge is power, right?
Continue reading if you’re interested in learning what the fuss surrounding resveratrol is all about.
Resveratrol belongs to a group called polyphenols’ stilbenoids. This compound is found in more than 70 different plant species altogether, in natural products such as grapes, peanuts, and berries. The skin of red grapes, in particular, is a potent source of resveratrol and it contains the highest levels of the compound known to date.
Its popularity derives from the fact that, as a compound, it acts as a powerful antioxidant that can benefit our bodies in many different ways.
One of its many functions is to battle pathogens, different types of bacteria and fungi.
Some people claim that it’s cancer-fighting and can be used in both treatment and prevention of cancer, but more on that later.
The good news is that - yes, the skin of the grape is included in the fermentation process of wine, so wine is considered a rich source of resveratrol, which is why so many studies have emerged informing us all about the health benefits of red wine, especially in regards to cardiovascular health and low cholesterol.
Now that you know what resveratrol is, let’s see how it actually works once it’s inside our bodies.
Since it’s an antioxidant, it has a protective function in our bodies. Antioxidants are substances that fight the free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are compounds can cause all kinds of issues and damage, ranging from raising inflammation levels to forming cancer cells.
Resveratrol also protects our DNA, which is prone to being harmed by free radicals. It’s safe to conclude that antioxidants help our bodies on multiple levels, and, without a proper balance between antioxidants and free radicals in our bodies, we’d be in a lot of trouble.
There are quite a few reported benefits that come with regular supplementation with resveratrol. Some of these are related to our skin, while others are related to various bodily functions and systems. So, here are the exciting benefits that you can potentially experience if you do decide to add resveratrol in your list of supplements that you take regularly.
In addition to its health benefits, resveratrol can provide many benefits for the skin as well. It’s full of antioxidants and anti-aging properties, which are crucial for healthy skin. Antioxidants, on top of fighting off free radicals, also have the power to lower inflammation levels, keep the skin firm and plump and can even potentially repair sun damage.
Collagen is a necessary substance for preserving youthful skin, but its levels get lower as we age. One of the ways in which resveratrol can help with signs of aging is by keeping collagen levels high. It’s safe to say that resveratrol can provide as many benefits as retinol in terms of anti-aging properties.
Since there have been a lot of studies done on animals regarding the benefits of resveratrol, one of the benefits documented in this particular study has been its ability to shift the levels of blood fats and create a healthier balance.
Once the research has been conducted, the mice were reported to have lowered their starting weight as well as their levels of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is also linked to low levels of antioxidants, so it’s no surprise that resveratrol is reported to help the cause and actually decrease LDL cholesterol.
What is insulin sensitivity, you may ask? Well, insulin sensitivity refers to the body’s ability to respond properly to insulin. If your body is highly sensitive to insulin, glucose will be used more effectively. There are a couple of ways one can increase their sensitivity to insulin, such as making certain lifestyle changes like a diet shift and including more exercise. However, there is also a chance that resveratrol can also provide the same benefit through supplementation.
Again, using the bodies of animals, it has been shown that resveratrol can benefit those who suffer from diabetes. It’s thought that one of the ways it can work for this health concern is by stopping certain enzymes from turning glucose into sorbitol. A high amount of sorbitol can actually cause oxidative stress, which, as I’ve mentioned, is damaging to the body.
Although this is a pretty courageous claim, some scientists believe that resveratrol has the power to stop cancer from spreading, while others are more reserved in this regard.
It does so by stopping the growth of the actual cancer cells, shifting the hormones that contribute to the spreading of cancer and changing the gene expression in the cells which are responsible for the spreading of cancer in the body.
There aren’t many studies on the topic, and this conclusion certainly needs more research on the topic in order to back it up. The consensus is, however, that there is no harm in adding more antioxidants in your diet.
What’s more important than a functioning brain?
If you’re a fan of red wine and champagne, get ready to be pleasantly surprised. Turns out, having a glass of alcohol occasionally can actually protect and optimize your brainpower. Who would’ve thought?
Since it’s a powerful antioxidant, this claim is not surprising to those who are doing the research. Resveratrol has been shown to protect brain cells from any damage and keep the brain healthy in the long run.
Just like the cancer claim, more research needs to be done on the topic for a more cohesive conclusion to be formed.
If you’re interested in what resveratrol has to offer, there are three ways you can incorporate it into your lifestyle and I will examine and explain all of them.
One of the easiest ways to boost resveratrol levels is by consuming more food rich in this compound. The abovementioned sources of resveratrol such as grapes and berries are a good starting point, but there are a lot more sources to choose from, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t like these.
Red wine is one of the tastiest options out there, and conveniently enough it’s one of the most potent sources of resveratrol out there. What are you waiting for, go and have a glass or two!
Don’t like alcohol? No worries. Red grape juice is also an option. Although there are more antioxidants to be found in wine than in juice, it’s still a powerful source of resveratrol, the average dose ranging from o.5 mg per liter.
Peanut butter is also a sneaky and delicious way of including more resveratrol. The best part is – if you don’t like the taste of it, there are ways around it, such as including it in your morning smoothie. That way, you won’t even taste it but you will experience all the benefits of it.
Cocoa powder is a surprising source of resveratrol, solely because it’s easy to demonize. But we shouldn’t equate chocolate high in sugar with cocoa powder. Real cocoa powder is high in antioxidants and is extremely good for us. You are free to take this as a cue to treat yourself to some dark chocolate today. If you pair it with red wine, you will double the number of antioxidants you’re consuming. Happy indulging!
Many skincare companies include resveratrol in their products due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging benefits. Since it’s proven to help with a myriad of skin issues such as uneven skin texture, redness, wrinkles and fine lines and dull complexion, it’s often used in serums, creams, masks and even moisturizers.
Another easy way to get more resveratrol in your diet is by supplementing with it. The dosing will depend on multiple factors such as your age and your medical history, so you will need to consult with a professional if you’re interested in supplementation.
It’s important to mention that resveratrol supplements shouldn’t be your first go-to. If you’re interested in all the benefits this particular antioxidant has to offer, start by including more resveratrol-rich food in your diet (you won’t need much convincing in this regard).
If you do choose to supplement, choose the brand carefully and read the instructions thoroughly.
We can’t mention the benefits without putting a disclaimer regarding the side-effects that you can potentially experience by supplementing with resveratrol.
It is thought to be safe for most people if taken in moderation through food. If you’re supplementing and you’re following the dosing recommendation and the instructions carefully, you should also be fine. It’s deemed as safe to consume it through food during pregnancy and breastfeeding, alcohol excluded.
If you’re suffering from a medical condition, consult your doctor about the possible interactions with the supplement, just to be on the safe side.
Resveratrol is shown to provide a couple of benefits, especially in regards to fighting free radicals and cardiovascular health. More research needs to be done on the topic for a definite answer regarding its potential benefits, but it’s certainly worth looking into.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.