Resveratrol defies aging at the cellular level
For several years now, we’ve heard ever-expanding news on resveratrol, the powerful antioxidant found most notably in red wine. You may have even seen resveratrol’s anti-aging promise on 60 Minutes.
Resveratrol is a phytonutrient that is concentrated in the skins of red grapes peanuts, and a handful of other plants that protects them against fungus. Since resveratrol is present in red wine, which is everywhere in French culture, it’s the likely explanation of the “French Paradox”—why the French can eat a high-fat, high-calorie diet, yet have significantly fewer heart attacks and live longer than people in other countries.
Most of the buzz surrounding resveratrol focuses on its effects on the sirtuin family of enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze (initiate and speed up) chemical reactions, and sirtuin enzymes play multiple roles in health and longevity. They facilitate DNA repair, protect against oxidative stress, and reduce inflammation. Bottom line: These enzymes increase cell survival.
We’ve known since the 1930s that calorie restriction reduces age-related disease and increases lifespan. This has been demonstrated in every species from fruit flies and nematodes to mice and monkeys. We now know that this is due in large part to sirtuins. Calorie restriction switches on the genes that kick these protective enzymes into high gear. This ensures survival during times of famine and food deprivation.
Well, resveratrol does the same thing. It, too, turns on sirtuin genes—even when a normal or high-calorie diet is being consumed.
Astonishing Animal Studies on Resveratrol
In a landmark study published in 2006, David Sinclair, PhD, and colleagues at Harvard University showed that mice given a high-fat, high-calorie diet plus resveratrol beginning at 12 months of age (equivalent to age 40 in humans), lived about 30 percent longer than a control group. They also had significantly fewer age-associated health problems. All of the mice on this rich diet got fat. However, the resveratrol supplemented animals had enhanced insulin sensitivity, fewer fatty deposits in the arteries and liver, lower levels of inflammation, and better balance and motor skills. Resveratrol, in essence, negated the damaging effects of a poor diet, obesity, and aging.
Recommended Resveratrol Supplement
Resveratrol helps maintain healthy levels of HDL “good” cholesterol and proper blood pressure control. Reseveratrol also promotes healthy blood flow through your arteries. Plus, resveratrol appears to support healthy lung function and promote proper blood sugar levels.
Resveratrol also positively influences multiple aspects of metabolic syndrome. In addition to increasing insulin sensitivity, resveratrol enhances endothelial function and reduces arterial stiffness. Coupled with its ability to increase exercise endurance, stimulate fat burning, and hinder fat storage, resveratrol just may be able to help stem the tide of three of our most widespread health concerns: obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
These findings to date are only the tip of the iceberg. We’ll be hearing much more about resveratrol as a solution for a wide variety of age-related disorders in coming years.
You absolutely should supplement with reseveratrol
Resveratrol is a good addition to any supplement regimen for anyone who is concerned about the degenerative diseases of aging—and who isn’t? Of course you’ll get some reseveratrol if you drink red wine, 1–2 mg per glass. But you’d have to drink dozens of bottles a day to get therapeutic levels of 100–250 mg. You could also get similar sirtuin enzyme-related benefits by cutting your daily caloric intake by about one-third. But the easiest, most prudent way to boost your anti-aging defenses is to take resveratrol supplements—and the sooner you start the better.
The recommended dose of resveratrol is 100–250 mg per day. Be aware that the market is saturated with resveratrol supplements, so read labels carefully and buy from a reputable manufacturer. Dr. Whitaker suggests looking for a standardized extract of trans-resveratrol such as ResVinol-25.