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Red Wine's Polyphenol Compound Resveratrol
Has Significant Health Benefits

The Benefits of Alcohol Are All About Moderation.

Low to moderate drinking, especially of red wine, appears to reduce
all causes of mortality, while too much drinking causes multiple organ
damage. A mini-review of recent findings on red wine's polyphenols,
particularly one called resveratrol, will be published in the September
issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research;

"Reports on the benefits of red wine are almost two centuries old,"
explained the lead researcher at the School of Biomedical Sciences
at The University of Queensland and corresponding author for the study.
"The media developed the more recent story of the French paradox in
the early 1990s. However, studies on the actions of resveratrol, one of
the active non-alcoholic ingredients, were uncommon until research
around 1997 showed prevention of cancers. This led to a dramatic interest
in this compound."

Red wine contains a complex mixture of bioactive compounds, including
flavonols, monomeric and polymeric flavanols, highly colored anthocyanins,
as well as phenolic acids and the stilbene polyphenol, resveratrol. Brown
said that some of these compounds, particularly resveratrol, appear to have
significant health benefits.

The range of benefits is remarkable, including cancer prevention, protection
of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such
as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more. "It has long
been a question as to how such a simple compound could have these effects
but now the puzzle is becoming clearer with the discovery of the pathways,
especially the sirtuins, a family of enzymes that regulate the production of cellular
components by the nucleus. 'Is resveratrol the only compound with these
properties?' This would seem unlikely, with similar effects reported for other
components of wine and for other natural products such as curcumin. However,
we know much more about resveratrol relative to these other compounds."

Here Are The Major Points of the Review:

* Resveratrol exhibits therapeutic potential for cancer chemoprevention
as well as cardioprotection.

"It sounds contradictory that a single compound can benefit the heart by
preventing damage to cells, yet prevent cancer by causing cell death; "The
most likely explanation for this, still to be rigorously proved in many organs,
is that low concentrations activate survival mechanisms of cells while high
concentrations turn on the in-built death signals in these cells."

* Resveratrol may aid in the prevention of age-related disorders, such as
neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular

"The simplest explanation is that resveratrol turns on the cell's own survival
pathways, preventing damage to individual cells; "Further mechanisms help,
including removing very reactive oxidants in the body and improving blood
supply to cells."

* Low doses of resveratrol improve cell survival as a mechanism of cardio-
and neuro-protection, while high doses increase cell death.

"Low activation reverses age-associated changes, while high activation
increases the process of apoptosis or programmed cell death to remove
cellular debris. Similar changes are seen with low-dose versus high-dose
resveratrol: low-dose resveratrol produces cellular protection and reduces
damage, while high-dose resveratrol prevents cancers."

In summary, current scientific research is starting to explain reports from the
last 200 years that drinking red wine improves health. Although it is a cliché that
"nature is a treasure trove of compounds, but studies with resveratrol show that
this is correct. We need to understand better the vast array of compounds that
exist in nature, and determine their potential benefits to health."

The researchers explain "Resveratrol is largely inactivated by the gut or liver
before it reaches the blood stream, where it exerts its effects - whatever they
may be - good, bad, or indifferent. Thus, most of the reseveratrol in imbibed
red wine does not reach the circulation. Interestingly, absorption via the mucous
membanes in the mouth can result in up to around 100 times the blood levels,
if done slowly rather than simply gulping it down."

Journal reference:
1. Brown et al. The Biological Responses to Resveratrol and Other Polyphenols
From Alcoholic Beverages. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research,

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