What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a substance that naturally occurs in the skin of red grapes as well as other fruits. It is a common misconception that red wine is a healthy drink, due to Resveratrol content. In reality red wine contains very little, especially if the grapes are machine process, as most are these days. You would actually be much better off just eating the grapes. Although if you do enjoy red wine in moderation it will have some health benefits – including stress reduction!
Resveratrol can also be found in dark chocolate, which is good news for those with a sweet tooth. However, you’d have to purchase a decent quality, high cocoa content dark chocolate to get any significant volume of Resveratrol.
What’s all the buzz about?
There has been much research into the benefits of Resveratrol. Findings have shown that it has a wide range of benefits that could actually pave the way for a new generation of highly effective drugs. This substance can help with everything from diabetes to obesity even and may even combat cancer. There have already been many supplements that have helped people harness its life extending qualities.
This is still a relatively new area of research. Resveratrol was first discovered by Michio Takaoka when he isolated it from a medicinal but poisonous perennial herb, Veratrum album.
One of the key pieces of research in this area has been from leading Geneticist David Sinclair. It is this ground breaking research that has shown Resveratrol has many potential pharmaceutical uses. One such area of research has been into its link to a group of enzymes known as sirtuins, which can create proteins that regenerate cells.
It is no wonder that such research has been responsible for a multi million dollar supplements industry. Sinclair later founded Sirtris, a biotech firm, in order to commercialize these important discoveries. In 2008 GlaxoSmithKline saw the pharmaceutical potential when it purchased the business for $270 million.
So what is all the buzz about?
Top 5 Benefits of Resveratrol
1. Preventing Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the biggest killers. Resveratrol has some great antioxidant properties. This means that it can play a major role is reducing oxidation that causes aging and cell mutation. Medical studies have shows that Resveratrol can really help in combating the likes of coronary heart disease.
In 2011 the New York Academy of Sciences published a report on its many cardio protective benefits against the most common cardiovascular diseases. This conditions include heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure) and even atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries).
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One of the key ways that this is achieved is through its ability to reduce cholesterol. In particular Resveratrol has the ability to lower the LDL or bad cholesterol in the
body. This is a major role in preventing heart disease. As its bad cholesterol that builds up in the arteries potentially causing heart attacks. In addition to this it has inflammatory properties. With regards to the heart it can reduce the inflammation surrounding the heart that can lead to the build up of fatty deposits. In turn this leads to a blockage of blood flow surrounding the heart which ultimately leads of heart failure.
2. Cancer Prevention
This is one property of Resveratrol that is often talked about. As an antioxidant it can prevent the growth and formation of certain cancer cells. It is thought that antioxidants help combat these cancers by reversing the damages caused by oxidization. This damage can cause mutation which results in the formation of cancer cells.
But also Resveratrol also helps with the prevention of the spread of cancer cells in the body. This is particularly so with the breast, prostate, colon and stomach. There has even been a successful study in preventing cancer from certain carcinogenic substances and free radicals.
It is believed that it is particularly successful in cancer prevention as it attacks the cancer cell from it energy source. This effectively cripples the cancer cell, and cannot survive this. If this power in the future is harnessed in a drug it could become a highly effective treatment for cancer.
3. Weight Loss
Obesity has become a big issue, particularly in the developed world. Research into Resveratrol has shown that there are weight loss benefits. It is shown to be very successful because it gets right the heart of the problem of weight gain and obesity.
It targets ‘pre-fat’ cells before they turn into mature fat cells. But it doesn’t just target the fat cells. It can also help with medical conditions that are associated with obesity. It helps with insulin production in the pancreas. This could prevent or give the body resistance to type II diabetes.
Another interesting finding with research into its weight loss properties is that it has also been shown to decrease appetite which in turn helps curb an excessive intake of calories.
4. Anti Aging Properties
Antioxidants have long been associated with combating the signs of aging. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant and as such is of particular interest in this area. Looking back at its abilities in maintaining a healthy heart it clearly does have a major role to play in longevity.
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But it doesn’t stop there. In laboratory research it was found that it could extend the lifespan of many groups of animals. Although it has yet to be tested in humans, its tests on mammals have been found to increase the activity of key enzymes linked to longevity. It has been found that Resveratrol activates a gene called SIRT1. This is part of a family of cells known as Sirtunins that influence the longevity of function in cells.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease
With an aging population, Alzheimer’s is becoming more and more prominent. Resveratrol has been found to have certain neuro-protective properties. If the brain is subject to brain injuries it has been found that Resveratrol has been an aid aid the brain in recovery. This can improve the outcome and the quality of life for patients.
Other benefits can be linked to activation of the SIRT1 longevity gene. It has been shown with research that when this gene has been activated it can lead to neuronal survival within the brain. This could provide recovery from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and even possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
Resveratrol has been found to be a versatile treatment and prevention for a wide range of conditions. From problems associated with poor lifestyle habits – such as cancer and heart disease – to age correlated conditions such as Alziemer’s disease and even the effects of aging itself.
Findings suggest it could play a role in the next generation of drugs that combat a range of cancers and even degenerative conditions.
So far degenerative conditions leave the patient with a poor prognosis. But with continued research in the area these conditions could be slowed down or perhaps even reversed in the future.
Perhaps we will see painful and demanding cancer treatments being replaced by new drugs that not only deliver a better treatment but even increase survival rate.
As for heart disease research in this area is also important. It is one of the biggest natural killers particularly in men. With Resveratrol this could even be prevented altogether improving the health of not only the heart itself but the arteries too, by reducing the cholesterol in the body.