Resveratrol Supplements:
the Fountain of Youth?

Resveratrol supplements, grape seed supplements and red wine extracts are all sources of what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). You will find supplements that offer one or more of these in combination because of their similar origins and the way they work together.

OPCs are powerful bioflavonoids and potent antioxidants, with many health benefits, including promoting skin and eye health, supporting immune function and controlling inflammation. OPCs appear to offset many of the diseases associated with aging, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and alzheimer’s, in ways similar to calorie restricted diets.

Resveratrol in particular, is making headlines because it appears to slow down aging and even increase the lifespan of human cells.

Health Conditions That
Resveratrol Supplements May Prevent

Resveratrol Benefits and Heart Disease. Resveratrol may be a potent weapon in the prevention of heart disease. Resveratrol strengthens your entire circulatory system in the following ways:

  • reducing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol
  • preventing blood cells from sticking together
  • preventing your arteries from constricting
  • improving elasticity in your blood vessels
  • keeping your blood pressure under control

Resveratrol Benefits as a Cancer Preventative. Resveratrol has been shown to work against a wide range of cancers, including pancreatic, colon, lung, skin, brain and thyroid cancer, both at the preventive and treatment stages.

Resveratrol seems to have the ability to distinguish a cancer cell from a normal cell, unlike chemotherapeutic drugs that cannot. Resveratrol does not damage healthy cells, in fact, it actually protects them. Resveratrol seems to make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation and normal cells less sensitive, and thus may be a very beneficial supplement for anyone undergoing chemotherapy.

Resveratrol supplements may help prevent cancer by:

  • helping to scavenge and remove cancer-causing free-radicals
  • blocking some enzymes that act to promote tumor development
  • reducing the number of cell divisions that could lead to cancer
  • helping the body get rid of potential cancer cells
  • reducing the level of male hormones that promote prostate cancer cells

Food Sources of Resveratrol

Muscadine Grapes are the Most Potent Source of Resveratrol. Muscadine grapes have the highest concentration of resveratrol of all fruits because of their unusually thick skins and numerous seeds, where the resveratrol is concentrated.

Muscadine grape seeds contain seven times the amount of resveratrol than other grape seeds. Muscadine grapes contain more antioxidants than red wine grapes, pomegranates, cranberries or blueberries.

Other Sources of Resveratrol. Resveratrol is also found in peanuts, cocoa, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries. Of these, red wine is the only one that may have abundant enough amounts to have any effect. Resveratrol is highly soluble in alcohol, meaning your body may absorb more of it from red wine than from other sources.

Resveratrol supplements are your most reliable source. Keep enjoying your red wine, but don't count on it if you're looking for the benefits of resveratrol. An 5-ounce glass of red wine provides less than 1mg. of resveratrol, depending on many factors, including growing conditions. Non-organic wines may not have any resveratrol in them at all — you just don't know. A handful of peanuts provides about 70 mcg. (that's .07 mg) of resveratrol, hardly any at all.

What to Look for
When Buying Resveratrol Supplements

The only sure way to obtain a certain amount of resveratrol daily is to take a standardized extract. Standardization ensures a consistent amount of resveratrol with consistent high quality. A supplement that includes a small amount of an Omega-3 oil also is helpful in assimilating the oil-soluble resveratrol compounds. The oil also prevents oxidation, which can dramatically reduce the benefits of resveratrol.

Resveratrol Supplements. Most resveratrol supplements come not from grapes, but from extracts of the root of a plant called polygonum cuspidatum, also known as the Japanese knotweed. Resveratrol supplements are often found in combination with red wine or grape seed extracts or other antioxidants.

Typical resveratrol supplements may contain anywhere from 10-100 mg of resveratrol. The amounts used in animal studies to prevent cancer are equivalent to 500 mg per day in humans, when body weight is factored in.

Red Wine and Grape Seed Supplements. Supplements labeled as red wine and grapeseed extracts very often also contain resveratrol and other flavonoids that naturally occur with it.

Look for extracts made from muscadine grapes that uses grape skins and seeds. Muscadine grapes have the highest resveratrol content of any fruit. They also naturally contain a phytochemical profile with a broader range of health-supporting potential than other grapes.

Similar-Acting Supplements. These compounds in resveratrol supplements are very similar to those found in pycnogenol, a supplement extracted from the bark of pine trees, and bilberry, a relative of the blueberry.

Learn More About the Benefits of Resveratrol

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