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Can A Glass (or two) of Red Wine Help Prolong Your Life?

Glass of Red Wine with bottle and peanuts

What Are The Benefits of Resveratrol?

Studies have suggested that resveratrol may offer numerous health benefits, due to its powerful antioxidant properties and positive effects on various aspects of well-being.

If you’ve ever heard of red wine being good for you and helping lower cholesterol – chances are, it’s because people are talking about the benefits of resveratrol, which is found in the skins and seeds of grapes. As well as naturally occurring in red wine and other foods like peanuts, resveratrol has been linked to several health benefits including protecting brain function and lowering blood pressure.

To date, most of the research on resveratrol’s benefits has been done on animals and in test tubes, but studies are being undertaken on humans about supplementing resveratrol and its benefits.

Can I Lower Blood Pressure with Resveratrol?

Due to its properties that make it a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol can help lower blood pressure when used as a supplement.

A 2015 review concluded that high doses of resveratrol may help reduce the pressure on artery walls when the heart beats. Known as systolic blood pressure, the upper number in blood pressure readings, this may help with lowering. Systolic blood pressure tends to go up in age as arteries stiffen, and high numbers are a risk factor for heart disease. Therefore, it’s fair to suggest that resveratrol can help reduce these risks.

Research has also suggested that resveratrol can help produce more nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax, therefore lowering blood pressure.

Resveratrol for Healthy Blood Fats

A 2016 study (on mice) saw subjects fed a diet high in protein and polyunsaturated fats, as well as resveratrol supplements. The results of the study saw the average total cholesterol levels and body weight of the mice decrease, but their levels of cholesterol HDL (known as good cholesterol) increased. The researchers suggested that resveratrol influenced cholesterol levels by reducing the effect of an enzyme that controls its production.

Due to its antioxidant powers, it’s suggested that resveratrol can decrease the oxidisation of LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol). Oxidation of bad cholesterol contributes to the build-up of things like plaque on artery walls.

One study gave participants grape extract boosted with extra resveratrol. After six months, their levels of bad cholesterol and oxidised LDL had reduced, compared with those who took a placebo or extract without the added resveratrol.

Can Resveratrol Slow Down Aging?

Resveratrol’s ability to extend the lifespan of different organisms is an increasing area of research. Some research results are suggesting that resveratrol activates genes that ward off diseases linked to aging.

But this early research is being done in organisms and hasn’t progressed to the stage of testing in humans so it’s not clear yet if it would have similar effects for humans. A review of several studies into the role of resveratrol in extending lifespans found it helped in 60 percent of the organisms studied, but its effects were strongest in organisms that weren’t related to humans, like worms and fish.

Can Resveratrol Protect the Brain from Age Related Decline?

Potentially! Several studies have suggested that drinking red wine, partly due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects of resveratrol, can help slow down age-related cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s. That’s a win for the wine lovers out there – but maybe don’t go relying on that alone to help you in your old age, a red wine diet has other potentially negative health impacts!

Some studies have shown that resveratrol can interfere with protein fragments called beta-amyloids, which are crucial to forming the plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The compound may set off a chain of events that protect brain cells from damage.

Scientists however are still studying how well the human body can make use of resveratrol in supplement form and how that can protect the brain. 

All in all, it’s looking promising for the effects of resveratrol on the brain.

Resveratrol to Treat Diabetes

From studies in animals, resveratrol is looking promising for helping treat diabetes, including increasing insulin sensitivity and preventing diabetes related complications.

It’s been suggested that resveratrol may stop enzymes from turning glucose into sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, of which a build-up can create oxidative stress that causes cell damage.

It’s also suggested that resveratrol may have benefits around preventing oxidative stress, activating a protein that helps the body metabolise gluten, and helping decrease inflammation, a key contributor to chronic diseases.

Resveratrol for Healthy Joints

Research is also showing positive benefits of resveratrol for joint pain and mobility. Some studies have suggested that when taken as a supplement, resveratrol may help cartilage from deteriorating. That cartilage breakdown is what can cause joint pain, a major symptom of arthritis.

One study on rabbits used resveratrol in the knee joints of those with arthritis and found the rabbits who had resveratrol suffered less damage than those who didn’t. Other research on animals and in test tubes has suggested that resveratrol can help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to joints.

How Much Resveratrol Should I Take?

Resveratrol is a product that should be discussed with a medical professional before adding as a supplementary product in your diet. No major risks have been discovered to adding resveratrol to your diet, however there are some concerns around how it can impact with other medications.

Bulk Nutrients Expert - Ebony Abblitt

Ebony Abblitt

Ebony is our resident wordsmith here at Bulk! A reforming journalist and a graduate of the University of Tasmania, she's our resident copywriter, cat mum, pilates princess and (self appointed) Chief Swiftie!

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