What is Resveratrol?
is the latest 'cool' discovery in a growing list of natural antioxidant chemicals produced by our indispensable neighbours on this planet, plants. Let's hear it for the plants! When will
we learn that one cannot beat Nature's systems, evolved over billions of years, when it comes to fighting disease. Everything wants to be at the top of the evolutionary pile, to guarantee survival of the species and survival requires combat, in one way or another.
When humans are well nourished, both physically and spiritually, we can survive most attacks from invading micro-organisms, but when we are run down we seem to succumb easily.
And so too with plants. Resveratrol in the grape (Vitis vinifera) is found in the roots, seeds & stalks but much higher concentrations are found in the skin of the grape, which protects it against fungal and micro-organism attacks. Resveratrol is found in much higher quantities in
red wine than in white, due to there being not much if it in the white skins, which are discarded before vinification; I wonder whether Bacchus preferred red or white wine?! Maybe he didn't care!
Other food sources of resveratrol:
Include peanuts and mulberries and it is found in quite large amounts in the dried roots & stems of the Japanese Knotweed (Poligonium cuspidatum), obtainable mainly
through health stores. The Japanese Knotweed is commonly used, in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, as a tonic for the circulation.
Health Benefits of Resveratrol:
Resveratrol also has antiproliferative actions, inhibiting cancer cell and tumour growth, and is involved in inhibiting an important enzyme in tumour growth. This clever little compound also reduces deposition of plaques on blood vessels, stimulates the immune system in fighting cancer, inhibits oxidisation of LDL-Cholesterol and, if that were not enough, also is a good anti-inflammatory. Research continues and more beneficial characteristics are being discovered daily.
ANTI AGING - The Holy Grail:
Is there no end to what Resveratrol can do! As well as being a powerful antioxidant it seem that there is great interest in it's anti-aging antioxidant properties. According to an article in The Times. "..."It works by
binding to a class of proteins called sirtuins which regulate the repair of cells and dramatically boosts their efficiency.
Studies have shown that it has an impressive anti-inflammatory action which, in
animals, has delayed the process of ageing and increased lifespan by up to 50%." Just before you rush out to stock up with your favourite 'Chateau Colostomy', I would like to point out that tests on mice, fed a reduced arbohydrate diet, also showed an increase in life span of 50%! The
report doesn't say if red wine was part of their diet!!
Although opinions about resveratrol benefits to human health vary, scientists know that the compound has antibiotic capabilities, protects plants from disease, fungus and viral infections. Like many plant compounds, it is an antioxidant, meaning that it protects the plants from the damaging affects of oxidative stress.
The reason that opinions about resveratrol and other antioxidants vary is that research results differ. Many researchers are not sure if plant antioxidants provide the same protection to humans that they do to the plants.
This opinion is becoming increasingly less popular, as research studies conclude again and again that those people who follow a diet rich in a variety of multi colored fruits and vegetables have less heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
Resveratrol pills are now available as a health supplement and the compound is included in a few of the better daily multi nutrient formulas. As with most natural supplements, opinions about resveratrol vary, but so far, no negative side effects have been found. So take organic food supplements, exercise in moderation.