Resveratrol has been a popular buzz word around the alternative health community for more than a decade, touted for its anti-aging properties and potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions at the cellular level. Found in high concentrations most commonly in the skin of red grapes and in many red wines, resveratrol is thought to mimic the positive health benefits associated with calorie restriction by up-regulating longevity genes known as SIRT’s.
Scientists from the Harvard Medical School have published the result of their work in the journal, Cell Biology that demonstrates how resveratrol provides metabolic benefits as a result of directly influencing the expression of genes that affect longevity. This research confirms conclusively for the first time that the metabolic benefits of the red wine ingredient disappear in mice that lack the famed longevity gene SIRT1.
Resveratrol Directly Influences Genetic Expression to Increase Lifespan
Resveratrol, commonly referred to as a ‘dirty molecule’, has gained notoriety for its unique ability to influence or alter the genetic expression of the SIRT family of longevity genes. Researchers have discovered that the naturally occurring ingredient has other effects; it influences dozens of other proteins critical to essential metabolic functions, and some evidence had pointed to the importance of another well-known gene (called AMPK) for resveratrol's cellular benefits.
Researchers using a mouse model determined that resveratrol did not affect a group of mice that were genetically bred to ‘knock-out’ the SIRT gene (mice are commonly used for this type of study as they exhibit similar metabolic traits with humans). This confirmed that the grape-derived compound directly alters longevity expression in a dose dependent manner. Higher concentrations of resveratrol were found to increase the degree of genetic influence exhibited by resveratrol supplementation.
Resveratrol Lowers Systemic Inflammation to Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Further evidence documenting the importance of resveratrol to human health is provided by researchers publishing in the American Journal of Cardiology. Scientists found that cardiac patients supplemented for a period of one year with the red nutrient lowered multiple markers of inflammation (including CRP, C-reactive protein) by 26 percent, as well as reduced clotting factors associated with stroke. The researchers for this study used low doses of resveratrol (8 mg for the first six months and 16 mg for the next six months) to achieve these results.
A vocal group of naysayers constantly degrade the ever-growing evidence to support the importance of resveratrol to human wellbeing. There is little left to dispute, as researchers are regularly demonstrating that small amounts of resveratrol taken from diet or supplementation can benefit overall wellness and cardiovascular diseases by lowering levels of inflammation, providing antioxidant support and directly altering genetic expression to extend our healthy lifespan.