What is resveratrol?
In recent years, bioactive compounds from plants, including flavonoids, have positioned themselves among the most interesting and relevant supplements.
One of the substances that are part of this group is the now famous resveratrol.
This substance is found in high concentrations in red wine (Vitis vinifera), and it is said that thanks to its beneficial health effects, it can play an important role in protection against age-related degenerative diseases.
What foods contain resveratrol
However, although wine is its best-known source, resveratrol can also be found in other foods, as it can be synthesized by plants and microorganisms.
These foods include: peanuts, blackberries, or dark chocolate, among many others.
According to research, the main source of this molecule is the root of the plant Fallopia japonica (Polygonum cuspidatum), but it is also present in berries such as raspberries and blueberries and in nuts such as peanuts and pistachios.
On the other hand, the Vitis Vinifera plant is also one of the main sources of resveratrol, and more specifically, the juice obtained from its fruit (grape).
Resveratrol and phytoestrogens
Resveratrol is considered a phytoestrogen, a chemical component found in plants. This serves as a defense shield against aggressive agents or environmental stress (radiation, insects ...).
At the molecular level they have a structure similar to estrogen.
In this way, they behave as an agonist of the estrogen receptors in our body.
Today, resveratrol is considered one of the most powerful substances capable of mitigating the effects of free radicals associated with premature cellular aging. In addition, resveratrol can be a possible ally in the fight against some diseases and pathologies particularly related to women: symptoms of menopause, osteoporosis ...
Health Effects of Resveratrol
Resveratrol works based on many functions. That is why many investigations have highlighted its great ability to regulate different aspects of the body.
In this context, several properties can be associated with this compound, including the following:
• Reduces glucose levels in the blood.
• Protects against cancer.
• Protects against neurodegenerative diseases.
• Helps against osteoporosis.
However, many of these benefits have only been observed in studies conducted at the cellular and animal level.
Resveratrol against obesity
Obesity is a multifactorial disease. And it is one of the biggest general health problems in the world. As we already know, obesity goes much further than just excess body fat:
This alters an infinite number of metabolic parameters and predisposes the body to the development of other pathologies.
Several animal studies have shown that resveratrol inhibits the proliferation of adipocytes (cells that store body fat), reduces lipogenesis, and promotes lipolysis and beta-oxidation.
In other words, it creates an anti-obesogenic environment at the metabolic level.
These studies even suggest that resveratrol simulates the effects of caloric restriction.
Studies on weight loss
However, the results of a series of investigations showed that, in general, resveratrol supplementation did not have a significant effect on the weight or body fat of people who were overweight or obese.
It also showed no effect on his basal metabolism. That is, it really could not be shown that resveratrol has a "thermogenic" effect or increases calorie intake.
It is important to note that, according to the authors of this meta-analysis, most of the studies showing no effects on body weight were conducted in short periods of time (no more than 2 months).
Since many participants were asked to maintain their customary habits, 2 months can be extremely short to appreciate significant differences.
On the other hand, adipose tissue produces a hormone called adiponectin. Its effects include:
• Promote insulin sensitivity;
• Improve endothelial function;
• Promote the oxidation of fatty acids;
• Decrease glucose production in the liver;
• Exert anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects.
Low levels of this hormone, in conjunction with high levels of leptin (another hormone secreted in adipose tissue) have been linked to increased adiposity, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular risk.
According to a meta-analysis of clinical studies, resveratrol is effective in increasing adiponectin concentrations, regardless of the dose, treatment time, and baseline levels of this hormone and leptin. However, the authors of this study emphasize that their results should be interpreted with caution.
Resveratrol and liver disease
Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the world. This is due to its strong link to being overweight and obesity.
Both are conditions that favor the accumulation of fat at the visceral level
In patients with NAFLD, the use of resveratrol showed a reduction in the severity of the disease only by taking a supplement of 500 mg per day.
However, this study was one of the few in which supplementation could be associated with a reduction in weight and body fat, so it cannot be excluded that a lower severity of the disease may be more related to fat loss than with the supplementation itself.
However, in another of the studies included in this meta-analysis, a decrease in intrahepatic fat levels was observed without there being a significant reduction in weight or fat.
Resveratrol and cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the most common complications derived from metabolic syndrome. In particular, hypertension is one of the main factors contributing to its development.
Therefore, avoiding these high values in blood pressure can be a very important prevention mechanism.
Resveratrol has been shown to act by different pathways through which it generates an antihypertensive effect.
In one study, resveratrol supplementation was found to improve the effectiveness of a drug that is widely used to treat hypertension. Although more similar studies are still needed, these results suggest that resveratrol could help reduce the dose of medications used in hypertensive patients.
Another factor that contributes to cardiovascular disease is the formation of atheroma plaques, known as atherosclerosis. The generation of these plaques normally begins with the oxidation of LDL (one of the transport media in which cholesterol travels through the blood). These oxidized particles enter the wall of the blood vessels and promote inflammation and increased blood flow.
There is a great controversy about the ability of resveratrol to improve the lipid profile (concentrations of LDL, HDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides), since there are both studies for and against.
However, one study showed that although the total amount of LDL was not significantly reduced, the oxidized LDL concentrations decreased.Since oxidized LDL is the one that initiates plaque formation in the first place, this would show that resveratrol has a protective effect on cardiovascular health.
On the other hand, the combination of resveratrol with calcium fructoborate (a substance present in some fruits and vegetables that stabilizes resveratrol in the intestine) has been shown to reduce inflammation and heart dysfunction in ischemic patients.
Recommended dose of resveratrol
The exact dose of resveratrol depends on each person's individual factors, such as their health, age, gender, and some special circumstances.
Currently there is still no solid scientific source on the optimal dose of resveratrol.
However, since it is a completely natural product, it is completely safe to ingest. The most logical thing to do is to respect the doses indicated in the food supplement leaflet.
Who can resveratrol capsules be useful for?
• For people who want to strengthen their cardiovascular system. Researchers have found that resveratrol protects the heart and can prevent heart problems.
• People who want to improve their eyesight. Researchers found that resveratrol has the ability to modulate angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels) and can prevent abnormal growth of blood vessels, which can negatively affect vision.
• Athletes Given the antioxidant character of resveratrol.
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