Resveratrol is a natural substance called a polyphenol and found in red wine, the skins of red grapes and several types of berries including blueberries. Smaller amounts can also be found in peanuts.
In recent years the health benefits of red wine in moderation have been discussed widely.
Studies have linked moderate intakes fo red wine with increased heart health, anti-aging, cancer prevention, reducing chronic inflammation, and lowering LDL cholesterol.
Resveratrol plays an important role in a plant’s natural defenses against infection and disease. Research has also led to the discovery that countries that consumed moderate amounts of red wine and saturated fat had far less heart disease. This is sometimes referred to as the great French paradox!
Studies in 2003\04 at Harvard University also found that resveratrol slowed the ageing process in laboratory testing on several different species, namely roundworms and fruit flies that typically have a very short life span.
Further testing in later years discovered the same principles applied to other species, including mice, dogs and monkeys.
One of the mechanisms identified by researchers included resveratrol’s ability to turn on or activate the SIRT1 gene, responsible for how quickly we age.
Other noted benefits of a diet rich in resveratrol include:
- very high antioxidant levels to fight free radicals;
- assists in maintaining normal blood sugar levels and body weight;
- inhibits the proliferation of a number of human cancer cells – breast, prostate, colon, pancreatic and thyroid.
Many of the body’s tissues, including the eyes, are subject to inflammation.
It is thought that many of the current diseases we face as a population start with chronic inflammation that then goes unchecked throughout much of our life.
Overactive immune system responses, diet-related allergies and intolerances, pollutants, chemicals and general nutritional deficiencies all play a part in the inflammation cycle.
A 2007 study at a Cardiovascular Research Centre in the US found that rezveratrol, as a potent antioxidant, is able to assist in downregulating the inflammatory cycle by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory mediators and activated immune cells.
With a similar action to Omega 3 fish oils, resveratrol is a substance that can calm the fire within the body by acting as strong anti inflammatory.
This shows very promising signs for fighting the inflammatory process associated with dry eyes.
Some dry eye vitamin products on the market already include resveratrol and other potent natural inflammatories such as Curcumin (Turmeric) and Omega 3 fish oils.
There is some debate still within the scientific and medical communities as to the tried-and-tested benefits, with some studies appearing to counter the claims of others. The debate is likely to continue however to date, much of the research is uniformly positive.
While it is not a magical cure-all remedy, resveratrol certainly appears to be a very beneficial substance for good health and longevity. Also of interest is a recent Japanese study suggesting links to increased sexual health and peformance in men.
As with all natural products, some precaution should be taken to look at any of the possible side effects. Taking too much of a good thing can sometimes be detrimental to our health.
Amounts of 1-200 mg a day are generally well tolerated. However always check with your doctor as to any conflicts with current medications before supplementing your diet.
Personally, I take 100mg regularly, together with Omega 3 and a balanced diet. At the very least, a couple of glasses of red wine in your diet isn’t going to hurt one bit!
Good Health in the 21st Centrury – C. Hungerford 2008
Living Longer Healthier Lives with Resveratrol – Life Extension. February 2008
Anti inflammatory Responses of Resveratrol – S Das et al. Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine,
Trans Resveratrol: A Magical Elixir of Eternal Youth. Orallo F. Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela (La Coruña), Spain