Bioslim Articles

Resveratrol: Miracle anti-aging, health-saving nutrient?

Nutrient found in grape skins and other plans may help thwart disease and aging


What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a natural compound found in grapes, mulberries, peanuts, and other plants or food products, especially red wine. Resveratrol may protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease by acting as an antioxidant, antimutagen, and anti-inflammatory.
 
Resveratrol has been found in numerous plant species, including mulberries, peanuts, and grapes. It is not found in the flesh but in the skin of grapes, which may be why red wines -- which stay in contact with the skins much longer than white or rosé wines -- are associated with reduced risk of heart disease. It is also believed that processes such as filtering or refining result in the loss of resveratrol.
 
Recently, resveratrol has been shown to have a positive effect on lipid levels (cholesterol, triglycerides).  It also appears to have a preventative effect against certain cancers.
 
Activities and mechanisms of action
Resveratrol interferes with all three stages of carcinogenesis (cancer creation in the body) - initiation, promotion and progression.  Furthermore it possesses antioxidant and anti-angiogenic (inhibits the growth of blood vessels that feed and help grow tumors) properties. Due to these discoveries, resveratrol is currently being investigated extensively as a cancer chemopreventive agent.
 
Resveratrol has recently been reported to be effective against neuronal cell dysfunction and cell death, and may be of use in diseases such as Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
 
Life extension and anti-aging
Experiments from the laboratory of David Sinclair at Harvard were published in 2003 the journal Nature claiming that resveratrol significantly extends the lifespan of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Dr. Sinclair then founded Sirtris pharmaceuticals to commercialize resveratrol as an anti-aging drug.
 
Later studies showed that resveratrol prolongs the lifespan of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.  In 2006, it was shown that it also extends the maximum lifespan of a short-lived fish, Nothobranchius furzeri, by 59% and the median lifespan by 56%. Also noted were an increase in swimming performance, an increase in cognitive performance (learning tasks), and no neurological degeneration, which was found in a control group. The authors wrote "the observation that [resveratrol's] supplementation with food extends vertebrate lifespan and delays motor and cognitive age-related decline could be of high relevance for the prevention of aging-related diseases in the human population."
 
The mechanisms of resveratrol's apparent effects toward life extension are not fully understood.  Seventy years ago, McCay CM, et. al., discovered that by reducing the amount of calories fed to rats, there was a substantial increase in the length of the lifespan - it was almost doubled. For the last seventy years, scientists have proposed hypotheses as to why. Some explanations included reduced cellular divisions, lower metabolism rates, and reduced production of free radicals generated by metabolism. Recently Harvard professor David A. Sinclair has conducted research that provides a new explanation for the lifespan extension caused by calorie restriction. It involves the activation of a gene called Sirt1. When Sirt1 gene activity is increased by genetic manipulation, caloric restriction does not increase it any further. Knocking out the Sirt1 gene also eliminates any beneficial effect from caloric restriction. Resveratrol has been demonstrated to increase the activity of the Sirt1 gene the same way caloric restriction does.
 
When resveratrol increased lifespan, caloric restriction failed to increase it any further. This provides evidence pointing to the conclusion that (a) caloric restriction acts by increasing the activity of the gene Sirt1 and (b) the benefits of caloric restriction might be had with the use of resveratrol.
 
Note: Only the trans-form is capable of activating the mammalian SIRT1 gene in vitro; it is also the form predominantly found in red grape skin (red wine).
 
Antiviral effects
Resveratrol has also been seen to increase the potency of some antiretroviral drugs against HIV and herpes in vitro.  Separately, a cell culture study has found that resveratrol thwarts the ability of the influenza virus from carrying viral proteins to the viral building site, hence restricting the ability to replicate.  The effect was 90% when resveratrol was added six hours after infection and continued for 24 hours thereafter.
 
Conclusion
Resveratrol seems to have many positive effects on the body.  While the jury is still out on the exact mechanisms by which all these effects occur, it seems clear that they are real.
 
Note: Medicus Formulas, Inc., the distributor of BioSlim, will soon be introducing a highest-quality Resveratrol supplement under its Doctor’s Own® brand.

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