Is Resveratrol Worth The Hype?

Much has been touted about the benefits of this little plant compound over the years with lots of claims about its protective influence against cancers, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. The headlines seem to always revolve around drinking wine, unsurprisingly – it’s almost as if we just want to be told to drink more wine, it’s good for you!

It reminds me of the ballsy ad campaigns from Guinness back in the day claiming all sorts of crazy benefits. It was an advertiser’s dream to work for Guinness back in the old days, not so much anymore with all the advertising regulations.

You could claim anything for your product back in the old days…

Some snippets from the literature world on Resveratrol:

  • Scientists May Be Closer to Developing ‘Red Wine’ Drug
  • Secret of Resveratrol, Red Wine Health Benefits Spilled
  • How Red Wine Keeps Us Healthy
  • Red Wine Good For Health, Could Be Used To Cure Diabetes And Dementia
  • Pill To Uncork Red Wine’s Benefits

So what’s the story with Resveratrol anyway?

Resveratrol is a compound found in certain plants that is produced as a stress response to injury or attack.

  • It is most commonly found in the skins and seeds of grapes and berries, but also in apples, peanuts and soy.
  • As grape skins are included in the wine production process, it is often associated with red wine.
  • It has been shown, in some animal studies, to exert beneficial effects on the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease and heart failure such as oxidative stress in rats (26), inflammation (27) and poor endothelial function (28).
  • Therapeutic dosages used in human trials examining coronary heart disease range from 0.75 g/d to 3 g/d (29)
  • A daily dosage of 1 g/d has been proposed as effective for the treatment of diverse disorders in humans (30)
  • Typical Resveratrol concentrations reported for conventional red wine for example are approximately 0.361–2 mg/L (30).
  • Based on this, in order to meet the 1 g/d (or 1000mg/d) recommendation, one would need to consume approximately 500 litres of red wine per day!
  • While this may sound like a challenge for some of you, it is not reasonable to assume that one can consume enough foods containing resveratrol in meaningful concentrations to promote beneficial effects
  • Resveratrol supplements (like this one) on the other hand, with dosages of 500mg daily are common in studies (31) and can be used as an alternative approach here to achieve a higher intake in a more convenient format which is more conducive to regular consumption

In summary, it is promising but more research is required to definitively confirm dosages required to see benefits in humans. In the meantime, we don’t have to wait for the research to eat our grapes, berries, apples, peanuts and soy.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

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