Research & Education

Resveratrol: Quintessential Age Fighter - Part 2

In our last blog we reviewed resveratrol's primary claim to fame which is its ability to act as a general anti-aging supplement benefiting the nervous and cardiovascular systems. There are however many other therapeutically relevant benefits that make the polyphenol a strong consideration as a staple in one's therapeutic armamentarium.

For instance in a study investigating a useful yet unusual application resveratrol was shown to have the potential to protect against hearing loss. Acoustic overstimulation can among other things obviously impact a person's ability to hear but it can also cause difficulties with sleep and communication while even raising the risk for heart disease by increasing a person's blood pressure lipids and blood sugar. It also causes an upregulation of COX-2 expression and reactive oxygen species formation which can contribute to additional cochlear hair cell damage. Resveratrol use was shown to decrease COX-2 expression thereby reducing a potential damaging mechanism for noise-induced hearing loss.

Resveratrol as stated above and in the previous blog possesses cardiovascular supportive health advantages that have been widely acknowledged as one of its primary benefits. In a recent human clinical trial resveratrol use in patients with stable coronary artery disease increased serum adiponectin a polypeptide involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fatty acid breakdown. This resveratrol-generated increase in adiponectin also inhibited atherothrombotic signaling in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) cells that can participate in the pathophysiology and development of atherosclerosis.

In lung tissue macrophages are a very abundant type of immune cell that plays a primary role in removing dead white blood cells irritants and toxic particulates. Macrophage production is initiated through inflammatory upregulation of cytokines; an example of such a mechanism is the act of smoking. In those with COPD macrophage infiltration can turn pathologic increasing lung tissue damage beyond that done by harmful cigarette smoke. Resveratrol was shown to inhibit excessive macrophage infiltration into the alveoli thereby diminishing tissue damage to an already compromised organ.

Resveratrol has even been shown to support immune function through its ability to inhibit viral reproduction such as the Epstein Barr and herpes simplex viruses possibly through inhibition of NF activation.

In an interesting observation past studies have shown that alcohol intake is inversely related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease risk and severity. Since resveratrol as we have repeatedly shown possesses anti-inflammatory properties and is also found in red wine perhaps it may be a not so coincidental element in the alcohol/RA equation. Indeed according to a recent study resveratrol used therapeutically in animal models of RA was shown to act as an immune and inflammatory modulator by its affect on Th-17 immune cells which when produced in inappropriately high numbers can contribute to autoimmunity.

Finally like many polyphenolic compounds resveratrol displays potential anti-cancer/cancer-protective qualities. In cancer cells signaling proteins and specific enzymes that induce apoptosis or cell death short-circuit and malfunction allowing cancer cells to continue to grow and reproduce. In prostate tumor cells resveratrol was shown to increase the activity of these important pro-apoptotic compounds.

The therapeutic power and clinical significance of the polyphenol family which includes the green tea extract EGCg curcumin (the active compound found in the spice turmeric) and resveratrol  has the potential to make significant positive changes in one's health when used on a daily long term basis.

by Michael Fuhrman D.C.


Read Part One Here: Resveratrol: Quintessential Age Fighter - Part 1