Resveratrol was first discovered in the 1930s in Japan by Dr. Takaoka. He thought it might be the beneficial element in a medicinal plant (the white hellebore - which can be poisonous in sufficient quantities and not a good source of supplemental resveratrol). It was later found in many other plants. It is produced by plants as a defense mechanism against environmental stresses. Resveratrol is found in many foods it is in high concentrations in berries, including grapes, cranberries and blueberries.

Photograph of Pouring Wine

The health benefits of resveratrol are thought to be many. It helps slow the aging process. It is also an antioxidant, helps reduce the effects of diabetes and arthritis, fights cholesterol and cancer, and even has anti-viral properties.

Resveratrol has few known side-effects in low doses. However, in high doses it can increase biliruben counts, increase the number of white blood cells, and cause the body to expel metals (which can be good or bad). It also thins the blood slightly preventing clotting. People on medication should consult a physician before taking resveratrol as a supplement as it can accelerate the effects of drugs.

Because it is a relatively simple molecule, resveratrol has many biological effects. Primarilly, it works to turn on the Sirt 1 gene in animals. This gene helps prevent aging by protecting DNA. Accounting for its role as an antioxidant it combines with and neutralizing free radicals that cause cell damage. It also inhibits substances that cause harmful inflammation. It has two forms trans- and cis-. Trans is the state before oxydation. Debates are currently being conducted on whether trans-resveratrol is superior to cis-resveratrol.

As an anti-aging substance, resveratrol has been shown to extend the life of experimental rats by over 50%. Coupled with other evidence regarding the benefits of moderate red wine consumption (a glass per day) it is reasonable to assume that resveratrol can have a life-extending benefit for humans as well.

Health Benefits of Resveratrol >>

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