Resveratrol is a polyphenol belonging to the group of flavonoids. It is a powerful antioxidant that has a protective effect and supports the work of the whole body, constantly fighting the damage caused by free radicals.
Resveratrol - what is it?
Resveratrol is a chemical of plant origin that occurs naturally in nature. It belongs to flavonoids, and more specifically to the group of polyphenols.
Among plants, it is a protective substance that protects them from the harmful effects of UV rays, as well as protects them against fungal infections and pollution from the environment.
Due to the possible spatial structure variants, we distinguish two varieties of resveratrol - cis and trans. However, only the trans form is considered biologically active.
Resveratrol is a poorly soluble compound in water, which, however, is distinguished by good solubility in fats. Therefore, to increase the bioavailability of the substance, it is recommended to take it along with high-fat products.
Sources of resveratrol
Resveratrol was first discovered in 1940 in a plant known as white oppressor. Since then, the presence of the compound has been confirmed in more than 70 different plant species.
The most popular sources of the substance are dark grapes and red wine. In turn, the highest concentration of the ingredient can be found in a plant known as Japanese knotweed. However, resveratrol can also be found in other products, including:
The French Paradox
Resveratrol is famous for the French paradox, a phenomenon described in 1992 by a French professor.
The French paradox is that the French, despite an unhealthy diet and a polluted living environment, are distinguished by a low percentage of illnesses and deaths associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system.
This phenomenon has been linked to the culture and tradition of frequent consumption of red wine by the French, who consume two to five glasses of liquid every day. Red wine is rich in polyphenols, including resveratrol, and it is in the action of these substances that scientists see unique, health-promoting properties.
Properties of resveratrol
Resveratrol has an antioxidant effect, which makes it perfectly cope with free radicals and protects our cells from them. In addition, it can reduce oxidative stress, protect proteins, fats and DNA.
The compound also has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, thanks to which it can help in the fight against all kinds of pathogens and stop inflammatory processes. Studies suggest that resveratrol may have the ability to suppress the expression and activity of cyclooxygenase enzymes that are associated with inflammatory reactions.
Resveratrol also demonstrates the ability to inhibit the aggregation of red plates and thus can counteract their clumping and the formation of blood clots. It also affects the expansion of blood vessels and this, in turn, can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
The substance also has a beneficial effect on the lipolysis process, causing its activation in adipocytes, i.e. fat cells, which may contribute to the reduction of body fat and weight reduction. In addition, resveratrol activates the SIRT1 protein, which plays an important role in regulating insulin secretion processes and maintaining normal blood glucose levels and can also inhibit the formation of adipose tissue.
The use of resveratrol may also contribute to the regulation of androgen concentrations, which is extremely important among women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis. This compound binds to estrogen receptors, which may limit their excessive effect.
Resveratrol and sport
Physical activity consists in hardening the body and is based on the conscious induction of inflammation. When the effort is too much and regeneration does not proceed properly, hormonal disorders may occur.
Inflammation has an activating effect on an enzyme known as aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogens, more precisely into 17B-estradiol, which sometimes disrupts the process of training periodization and is manifested by muscle weakness. Resveratrol can inhibit aromatase activity, which can increase the available testosterone in the body.
At the same time, resveratrol has the ability to stimulate SIRT1 and PGC1-alpha, which contributes to the formation of undamaged mitochondria and the proper course of the aerobic respiration process, and this, in turn, can affect the increase in efficiency and a higher oxygen threshold of the body.
Thus, it can be concluded that resveratrol has a positive effect on activity and physical performance.
How and in what form to supplement resveratrol?
It is worth using the benefits of a varied diet and providing resveratrol to the body with everyday food. Sometimes, however, supplementation with the ingredient is indicated, and various forms of resveratrol are available on the market.
The compound can be delivered to the body both in the form of oral capsules and in the form of drops. We can take the substance in the form of single or multi-ingredient dietary supplements. Multicomponent preparations usually also contain other biologically active substances, e.g. lecithin, which additionally supports the functioning of the whole organism.
There are no conclusive data on the appropriate portions of the preparation that should be delivered to the body. The need for resveratrol varies and depends on age, body weight, as well as the ailments that occur.
However, it is worth remembering to take the supplement along with products rich in fats, which significantly increases its bioavailability.
Before starting supplementation, you should consult a doctor who will help you choose the right dose of the preparation. It is also worth reading the information on the packaging of the selected product and consume it in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Side effects of using resveratrol
Although red wine is a great source of resveratrol, it is not recommended to follow a diet based solely on this liquid.
Resveratrol is considered a safe substance, however, even when using well-tested preparations, you should not exceed the recommended portion of the product.
Long-term intake of too high doses of the compound may contribute to kidney dysfunction, mood swings, excessive weight loss and adverse blood count results, namely to an abnormal amount of albumin and bilirubin in the blood plasma and a decrease in the number of white and red blood cells.
Resveratrol may also interact with medications you take incl. statins or hypertensive medications. For this reason, it is recommended to consult a doctor to discuss the preparations used and the relationship between them.