You may have heard that red wine can help your health in general, due to the presence of resveratrol in it.
The resveratrol is a plant compound that acts as an antioxidant. Among the sources of food that contains it, in addition to red wine, are grapes, berries and some peanuts. But, beyond being a healthy part of red wine and other foods, resveratrol has the potential to improve health. In fact, resveratrol supplements have been linked to benefits for emotional health, brain function and blood pressure.
However, much of the research on resveratrol has been done in animals, and limited research in humans focuses on the complementary forms of the compound. However, if there are at least 6 benefits of resveratrol supplements that are scientifically backed.
6 Benefits of resveratrol supplements
1.Help reduce blood pressure
Due to its antioxidant properties, resveratrol could be an ally for reducing blood pressure. In this sense, a study from 2015 concluded that high doses of this supplement can help reduce the pressure exerted on the arterial walls when the heart beats. That type of pressure is called systolic blood pressure, and it manifests itself as the highest number in blood pressure readings.
Systolic blood pressure usually increases with age, because the arteries harden; and high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.
Therefore, resveratrol can lower blood pressure by helping to produce more nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax. However, more research would be needed before making the appropriate recommendations on the best dose of resveratrol for this purpose.
2.It positively benefits cholesterol
Several studies in animals have suggested that resveratrol supplements benefit blood cholesterol level.
A study of the year 2016 in mice fed high protein, polyunsaturated fats and resveratrol supplements showed that they were able to decrease the level of average total cholesterol and the body weight of the mice, increasing their levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) .
It seems that resveratrol influences cholesterol levels, reducing the effect of an enzyme that controls its production. Also as an antioxidant can decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol).
3.Protects the brain
Several studies suggest that consumption of red wine may delay cognitive decline related to age. This is due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of resveratrol.
Apparently resveratrol interferes with beta-amyloids , fragments of proteins crucial for the formation of Alzheimer’s disease.
In this sense, the compound can trigger in a series of events that protects brain cells from damage. However, scientists still have questions about how well the human body is able to do with resveratrol, which has limited its immediate use as a supplement to protect the brain.
4.Increase insulin sensitivity
Resveratrol has been shown to have several benefits for diabetes, at least in animal studies. These benefits include increasing insulin sensitivity and preventing complications due to diabetes. Apparently this is possible to the extent that resveratrol stops converting glucose into sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. For example, by accumulating too much sorbitol in people with diabetes, oxidative stress can be created that damages cells.
In addition, other 2 benefits for people with diabetes are the following:
- It helps reduce inflammation, a key factor in chronic diseases such as diabetes.
- Activates AMPK (for its acronym in English AMP-Activated Protein Kinase) ; an enzyme that helps the body metabolize glucose by keeping blood sugar levels at bay.
Another very particular fact is that resveratrol can provide more benefits to people with diabetes. This was demonstrated in an animal study, where red wine was actually more effective in rats with diabetes than in those that did not.
Therefore, the researchers note that resveratrol could be used to treat diabetes and its complications in the future, but more research would be needed on this.
5.Relieves joint pain
Arthritis is a very common condition that leads to joint pain and loss of mobility. For example, the breakdown of cartilage can cause joint pain; one of the main symptoms of arthritis. In this regard, herbal resveratrol supplements are being studied as a way to treat and prevent joint pain.
This was demonstrated in a study that injected resveratrol into the knee joints of rabbits with arthritis, and found that they suffered less damage to the cartilage.
Other research also indicates that the compound has the potential to reduce inflammation, and prevent joint damage.
6.Prevents the formation of cancer cells
Resveratrol has been studied for its ability to prevent and treat cancer. In this sense, it has been shown that it can combat several types of this disease, including the gastric, colon, skin, breast and prostate.
The evidence on how resveratrol can participate to fight cancer cells are:
- It can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by preventing these cells from replicating and spreading.
- It can change gene expression by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
- It can have hormonal effects by interfering with the mechanism in how certain hormones are expressed, and which can prompt the spread of cancer.
However, because the studies have been carried out in animals and test tubes, more research would be needed to determine how this compound could be used for treatment against human cancer.