Have you heard of the “French Paradox”? Well, its based on a theory that the French people have less incidence of heart disease and coronary heart disease because of the fact that they drink red wine which contains resveratrol. Since this discovery was made public back in 1991 resveratrol has been touted as the anti aging, cancer fighting miracle antioxidant. Research and studies are still being conducted on its efficacy in humans however, its shown very promising affects in yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish and mice.
Since its original discovery in 1939 resveratrol has been speculated to improve ones defense system to fight off disease. Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol antioxidant that is naturally produced in plants when they are under attack by pathogens such as bacteria and fungus. Resveratrol is naturally found in the skin of red grapes, red wine, mulberry, peanuts, cocoa powder, milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Unfortunately up until know resveratrol has not been proven effective at preventing, curing or treating aging, or any diseases in humans. It is speculated that the effects of eating resveratrol in the foods that it is present in is due to the other ingredients and elements that coexist with it. In spite of this, since 2006 supplements containing resveratrol have been rapidly selling, showing that even though there is no official proof, people believe in its ability to slow the aging process and prevent diseases such as cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Even though scientists have been unable to prove human benefits of resveratrol, the studies don’t lie even if they were tested on animals. Studies tested on yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish and mice all proved to prolong the lifespan. Topical applications on mice prevented development of skin cancer. When testing anti-cancer effects resveratrol decreased skin, gastrointestinal, and esophageal tumors as well as preventing the development of intestinal and colon tumors. When tested resveratrol interfered with all three phases of carcinogenesis- initiation, promotion and progression. It was effective against neuronal cell dysfunction and cell death. Resveratrol decreased UV radiation, the incidence of skin cancer, and inhibits skin damage. Additionally, resveratrol has neuro-protective effects, which decrease plaque formation, which is thought to be the causes of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and neurodegenerative diseases.
Resveratrol is thought to be a good therapy for arthritis because as an anti-inflammatory it protects the cartilage. As an anti-inflammatory it inhibits both the acute and chronic phases of the inflammatory process. Resveratrol is thought to have cardioprotective effects, which reduce the risk for heart disease. It inhibits the creation of cardio fibroblasts and reduces the likelihood of occurrence. Resveratrol ameliorates diabetes symptoms such as polyphagia, polydipsia and weight loss. It also has antidiabetic effects such as hypoglycemia and hypolipidemia by lowering the blood sugar levels. As an anti viral it inhibited the herpes simplex virus, varicella roster virus, certain strains of the influenza virus, respiratory viruses and human cytomegalovirus. It also enhanced the effects of the anti HIV drugs. However, all of these benefits have only been sited in non-human studies.
Research doesn’t debate that resveratrol is an antioxidant with anti-angiogenic properties. However, when ingested in the human body resveratrol is rapidly metabolized and eliminated, therefore requiring large dosages. However in test cases in human subjects even large doses have not proven even the slightest effects that presented in animal studies. Therefore scientists feel that there needs to be another way to introduce resveratrol to the body to determine its efficacy in humans. Although, this hasn’t squandered peoples thoughts about continuing to take resveratrol as a dietary supplement or include foods that contain resveratrol within their daily diet. All we can hope is that soon scientific studies will find a way to prove its effects accurately within the human body.