Resveratrol is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols. These compounds are thought to have antioxidantproperties, protecting the body against the kind of damage linked to increased risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, but other sourcesinclude peanuts and berries.
Because resveratrol is thought to have so many health benefits, it's not surprising that a number of manufacturers have tried to capitalize by selling resveratrol supplements.Most resveratrol capsules sold in the U.S. contain extracts from the Japanese and Chinese knotweed plant, Polygonum cuspidatum. Other resveratrol supplements are made from red wine or red grapeextracts.
Ads touting resveratrol supplements on the Internet promise purchasers everything from weight loss to a healthier, longer life. The question is, do resveratrol supplements really deliver on thosepromises, or are they nothing more than marketing hype?
Benefits of Resveratrol
Resveratrol has gained a lot of attention for its reported antiaging and disease-combating benefits. Early research,mostly done in test tubes and in animals, suggests that resveratrol might help protect the body against a number of diseases, including:
Heart disease. Resveratrol helps reduce inflammation, preventsthe oxidation of LDL "bad" cholesterol, and makes it more difficult for platelets to stick together and form the clots that can lead to a heart attack.
Cancer. Resveratrol is thought to limit thespread of cancer cells and trigger the process of cancer cell death (apoptosis).
Alzheimer's disease. Resveratrol may protect nerve cells from damage and the buildup of plaque that can lead toAlzheimer's.
Diabetes. Resveratrol helps prevent insulin resistance, a condition in which the body becomes less sensitive to the effects of the blood sugar-lowering hormone, insulin. Insulin resistance is...