Resveratrol (CAS #501-36-0) is a polyphenolic compound naturally found in peanuts, grapes, red wine, and some berries. Polyphenols are micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants and offer numerous potential health benefits.
Red wine has a particularly high concentration of resveratrol because the compound tends to be concentrated mostly in the skins and seeds of grapes, which are included in the fermentation process. When taken orally, resveratrol is well absorbed by humans, but its bioavailability is relatively low because it is rapidly metabolized and eliminated. Much of the research to date on human consumption has used supplements containing high levels of resveratrol.
Research suggests that resveratrol is likely to offer the following benefits:
- Resveratrol supplements may help lower blood pressure by increasing the production of nitric oxide.
- Resveratrol may increase “good” HDL cholesterol by influencing an enzyme involved in cholesterol production and decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol though its antioxidant effect.
- As a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, resveratrol shows promise in protecting brain cells from damage.
- Resveratrol has been shown to help those with diabetes by reducing inflammation and activating a protein that helps the body metabolize glucose and keep blood sugar low.
- Resveratrol may help to relieve joint pain by reducing inflammation and preventing cartilage from breaking down.
There are currently no known risks or side effects of taking resveratrol supplements for most individuals, but there is some concern over how it might interact with certain medications, particularly at high dosages. Those on medication may wish to consult with a doctor before trying resveratrol.
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