Resveratrol is responsible for the health-giving benefits of red wine, which is known to lower cholesterol and help prevent cancer. Resveratrol occurs naturally in red wine and a handful of foods, but can also be taken as a supplement. It’s a highly protective nutrient shown to slow the aging process and prevent age-related brain diseases, as well as diabetes. It also helps with muscle growth, gives you more energy and improves weight loss efforts.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red wine that has been linked to anti-aging effects and the prevention of degenerative diseases. You may have heard that red wine is good for your heart. That’s because resveratrol reduces inflammation, protects your arteries from cholesterol buildup and blood clotting, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
The amount of resveratrol found in wine depends on how long it was fermented, and too much alcohol can cause damage to the heart . However, taking resveratrol supplements can give you the benefits of red wine without the side effects. Resveratrol is safe to take every day, and is shown to prevent certain types of cancer, protect the skin from damage and the effects of aging, reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar and even act as an antiviral agent.
1. Protects Your Cardiovascular System
Resveratrol benefits your heart and entire cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure, protecting the health of blood vessels and preventing blood clots. It’s shown to help lower amounts of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream, which is the type that clogs arteries and increases your risk of heart disease. By lowering inflammation and preventing the aggregation of blood platelets, resveratrol prevents abnormal blood clotting, which can lead to strokes .
Another way resveratrol benefits your heart is by increasing your body’s production of nitric oxide, which dilates your blood vessels. In effect, it lowers high blood pressure and improves the circulation of blood . Not only does this make resveratrol a promising treatment for high blood pressure, but also helpful in the prevention of heart disease, atherosclerosis and strokes.
2. Slows Down the Aging Process
Resveratrol has a special mechanism by which it fights the natural aging process. It activates a group of proteins in your body called sirtuins. Sirtuins block the activation of genes that turn on as you get older and are responsible for the natural aging process. In other words, resveratrol prevents the activation of aging genes and thereby slows down the aging process. Not only does this reduce the appearance of aging, but also lowers your risk of diseases and can even increase your lifespan .
3. Improves Blood Sugar Levels by Increasing Insulin Sensitivity
Resveratrol has anti-diabetic effects due to its proven ability to boost insulin sensitivity. Whereas people with diabetes have impaired insulin sensitivity, higher insulin sensitivity improves cellular uptake of glucose, and thereby reduces the buildup of glucose in your bloodstream. In middle-aged mice fed a high-calorie diet, resveratrol supplementation was shown to boost insulin sensitivity and even extend lifespan compared to a control group .
4. Works as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent and Treats Arthritis
Medical research has revealed resveratrol may be a promising treatment for arthritis. By reducing inflammation in the body, it can also help prevent arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Scientists have determined that resveratrol directly modulates the body’s inflammatory signaling pathways. In effect, it stops the body’s inflammatory response and thereby reduces inflammation wherever it’s found in the body. In the case of arthritis, the joints become inflamed, causing pain and cartilage damage. However, researchers are saying that resveratrol supplementation can help reverse the pathology of arthritis and potentially be an effective treatment .
5. Stops Cancer Growth
According to lab studies, resveratrol has powerful anti-cancer properties and has been proven to fight stomach, colon, skin, breast and prostate cancers. It works in several ways, including stopping cancer cells from multiplying and spreading through the body . It’s shown to alter gene expression in cancer cells, turning off the gene that tells them to proliferate . Resveratrol also helps prevent and reduce the growth of hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast and prostate cancers, by altering the way hormones are expressed .
6. Protects Your Brain from Neurodegenerative Diseases
By dilating your blood vessels and improving the flow of blood to your brain, resveratrol boosts your brain’s supply of oxygen and nutrients. This enhances brain function and reduces the loss of neurons. These effects, combined with resveratrol’s ability to lower inflammation and fight oxidative damage in the brain, could protect you from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia .
7. Fights Against Viruses
Impressively, resveratrol is also an antiviral agent that has been shown to stop the spread of several viruses in animals and in test tube studies. It’s shown to have antiviral action against the flu, herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr virus, Respiratory Syncytial virus, pneumonia infections and even HIV .
8. Boosts Exercise Performance and Weight Loss Efforts
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you work out to build muscle mass, resveratrol can help improve your outcome. With regular supplementation, it promotes the growth of muscles and is shown to increase muscle mass while reducing oxidative damage in muscle tissues. It also increases the size of mitochondria in cells, which is the part responsible for burning energy . In effect, you burn more calories and experience less fatigue during exercise.
When you burn more calories than you consume, you’re able to lose weight. By increasing muscle mass and boosting your energy expenditure, resveratrol can improve your weight loss efforts. Additionally, a study on rats given endurance running tests confirmed that by increasing energy utilization, resveratrol enhances exercise performance .
9. Resveratrol for Skin Health
Resveratrol has properties that can promote healthy skin and protect it from the effects of aging. In a 2012 study in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, scientists from Spain and Italy evaluated the effects of a resveratrol-containing supplement on the health of the skin. Study results showed that after 60 days of treatment with the supplement, participants demonstrated elevated antioxidant levels in the skin. The supplement also had a moisturizing effect on the skin and increased elasticity, in addition to improving roughness, wrinkles, and age spots on the skin . This finding demonstrates that resveratrol can improve the skin’s appearance and exert an overall positive effect on skin health.
10. Resveratrol and Hair Growth
In addition to promoting skin health, resveratrol can facilitate hair growth, especially in cases of psoriasis. Psoriasis is associated with hair loss, but research shows that resveratrol can treat this. A 2015 study in Oncology Reports, authored by scientists from Chonbuk National University in Korea found that resveratrol has effects that could be therapeutic in cases of psoriasis . By serving as a treatment for psoriasis, resveratrol can protect against hair loss and promote the growth of new hair.
11. Resveratrol’s Impact on Prostate Health
In addition to its other benefits, resveratrol can improve prostate health by protecting against prostate cancer. A 2006 study in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics found that resveratrol resulted in the death of prostate cancer cells, without killing healthy prostate cells. The authors of the study, who worked for the University of Wisconsin, concluded that resveratrol could be effective for managing prostate cancer .
Resveratrol is found naturally in certain plant-based foods, including the skin of grapes, wine, raw cocoa and dark-colored berries such as blueberries and mulberries. Because red wine undergoes a long fermentation process, it has a high concentration of resveratrol. Because resveratrol is only found in a small handful of foods, supplementing with this nutrient is the best way to ensure you get its health benefits.