WHAT IS RESVERATROL?
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid and phytonutrient (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have multiple health benefits but are not considered essential to human health) that is that is mainly found in grapes and wine. Studies have shown that it may prevent cancer, treat diabetes and more but currently none of these health benefits have been confirmed in humans. In this article I will be taking a deeper look at resveratrol and providing you with a full breakdown of this phytonutrient.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF RESVERATROL?
Resveratrol was discovered and isolated in 1939 by M. Takaoka.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RESVERATROL?
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant which fights damaging free radicals (harmful by-products that are released into your body’s cells during oxygen related reactions). It has also received a huge amount of publicity for its ability to protect against numerous diseases such as cancer and diabetes. However, currently no clinical trials looking at the health benefits of resveratrol have been performed on humans so more evidence is needed before its impact on human health can be confirmed. The list below outlines the potential health benefits of resveratrol:
– Possibly acting as an anti-inflammatory (a substance which reduces unnecessary inflammation within the body).
– Possibly acting as an antitoxic (a substance that fights harmful toxins within the body).
– Possibly increasing the lifespan of people who consume a high calorie diet.
– Possibly preventing atherosclerosis (a condition where hard plaques form in the artery walls and restrict the flow of blood which ultimately increases your heart disease risk).
– Possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease (a mental disorder which leads to the loss of memory, thought and speech).
– Possibly preventing cancer.
– Possibly preventing diabetes and the associated damage (by reducing blood glucose levels).
– Possibly preventing heart disease (by preventing atherosclerosis and reducing blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol).
– Possibly preventing kidney damage.
– Possibly preventing liver damage.
– Possibly protecting against ultraviolet (UV) damage (which can damage the skin cells and cause skin cancer).
– Possibly reducing blood levels of LDL cholesterol (a type of cholesterol which causes blockages in the artery walls and can increase your heart disease risk).
HOW MUCH RESVERATROL DO YOU NEED?
Resveratrol is not classed as an essential nutrient so no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established. However, a number of sources suggest that consuming between 20 milligrams (mg) and 40mg of this stilbenoid each day will allow you to unlock all its health benefits.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN RESVERATROL?
Resveratrol is mainly found in red grapes and red wine. It can also be sourced naturally from blueberries, bilberries, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, peanuts, rose wine and white wine. In addition to this, resveratrol can be found in a wide range of health and fitness supplements. The table below outlines some of the best food sources of resveratrol:
|MILLIGRAMS (MG) OF RESVERATROL PER 100 GRAMS (G)/MILLILITRES (ML)
|Between 0.14 and 0.23
|Between 0.01 and 0.18
|Between 0.15 and 0.78
|Red Grape Juice
|Between 0.11 and 0.87
|Between 0.2 and 0.71
|Between 0.04 and 0.35
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH RESVERATROL?
Currently there are no reported overdose symptoms associated with resveratrol consumption. Some studies have suggested that consuming high levels of this stilbenoid may lead to breast cancer and interfere with blood clotting but there is not enough evidence available to confirm these claims. However, to be on the safe side people who are suffering from breast cancer, suffering from a blood disorder, taking blood clotting medications or who have a history of breast cancer in the family should consult their doctor before taking any resveratrol supplements. In addition to this, pregnant women are advised to avoid resveratrol supplements because it is not known what effect this stilbenoid has on the development of babies.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FAILING TO CONSUME ENOUGH RESVERATROL?
Resveratrol is not classed as an essential nutrient so no deficiency symptoms have been established.
Resveratrol has become 1 of the most popular health supplements in recent years and is believed to be part of the reason behind the low rates of heart disease in France. However, it is important to remember that none of the health benefits of resveratrol have been confirmed in humans. Whilst the early signs are very promising, you should save your money and avoid resveratrol supplements. Instead, take advantage of the natural food sources of resveratrol until more research is available. Berries and grapes in particular are an excellent source of resveratrol and also contain high levels of various health boosting vitamins and minerals.