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“I have heard a lot about Resveratrol. What is it and what is it good for?”

A letter from Lisa of Chino Hills  "ask clarks" header

Resveratrol is a defense mechanism or organism produced by plants to prevent infections on the plant such as fungus. The main source of Resveratrol is grapes used to make wine and Japanese Knot weed. Varieties of grapes are called Labrusca and Muscatine a typically the most abundant in Resveratrol. Resveratrol is produced in the grape plant’s vines, roots, seeds, and stalks, but the skin of the grapes is the most abundant source of resveratrol.  Resveratrol is much more abundant in red wines because both the seeds and skins are used.  Conversely, white wines are prepared mainly from the juice.  It is noted that red wines vary considerably in Resveratrol content depending on length of time the skins are present during the fermentation process and climatic areas. Non-fermented grape juice has lower concentrations of resveratrol. Smaller amounts can be found in mulberries, peanuts and eucalyptus as well.

The popularity of Resveratrol developed primarily because of its benefits with cardiovascular support. Known actions of resveratrol include, but are not limited to: antioxidant, inhabitation of cholesterol synthesis, inhibition of atherosclerosis, reduced inflammation and promotion of vaseodialatioin. Human and animal studies indicate possible benefits of Resveratrol including reduced risk in certain types of cancers and heart disease. Although a lot of these studies are not double blind studies and they have no definitive conclusions, researchers are positive about the strong outcomes and positive benefits of resveratrol research that is currently taking place.

The benefits of Resveratrol have been seen using a supplemental form as well. Dietary supplements can obtain resveratrol from the Japanese knotweed plant (Polygonium cuspidatum) as well as grapes. Many individuals like the supplemental form the best because of the disadvantages of wine consumption. Although one to two glasses of wine a day (5-6 oz) are considered to be healthy for adults, many end up drinking more than what is ‘healthy’, making wine a possible deterrent when not consumed properly. While alcohol consumption for resveratrol is not always optimal, supplemental forms have shown benefits. There are many studies for supplemental forms with positive results. It is noted these are preliminary studies and some are vitro (test tube) studies and more conclusive studies are on the horizon. Consumption of resveratrol from foods and supplements has shown great health benefits. It is always a good reminder to note that resveratrol is a colorful compound. Foods that have color also have healthy benefits. Remember to eat fresh fruits and vegetables for color and health benefits.

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