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What is Resveratrol?

Posted on 01. Dec, 2010 by .

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Resveratrol (trans-Resveratrol) is a phytoalexin  (an antibiotic enzyme) produced by plants under stress as when attacked by fungi, disease-causing pathogens, adverse weather, insects or animals. It is a polyphenol with antioxidant properties as well; and thus protects the plants from UV radiation and other free radical damage.

resveratrolselect

Resveratrol can also be chemically synthesized.

Seventy-two plant species are known to produce Resveratrol.

Some examples of plants or plant-based products and their Resveratrol average production capacity are:

  • Red wine – about 160 micrograms per ounce;
  • Boiled peanuts and red grapes – 75 micrograms per ounce;
  • Blueberries – 8 micrograms per ounce;
  • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) – 6 micrograms per ounce; and
  • Bilberries – 3 micrograms per ounce.

Grapes, the most abundant natural source known, contain Resveratrol primarily in the skins, but also in the roots, seeds and vines depending on the cultivar (cultivated variety).

It is interesting to note that grape juice contains just half the amount of Resveratrol as red wine. Some speculate that the stress of the fermentation process and concurrent injuries to the skin induce increased production of the anti-stress enzyme.

When Resveratrol burst onto the anti-aging scene a few years ago, it was thought to be the key to the French Paradox.

Despite the fact that French men consume wine daily along with their high-fat diet, they have one-third the risk of heart attack of American men. However it is now believed that Resveratrol is only part of the answer.

It should be noted that Resveratrol is also a phytoestrogen (plant estrogen). The estrogenic properties of this chemical may play a role in the beneficial cardiovascular benefits of red wine by increasing blood levels of HDL, the healthy form of cholesterol.

On the other hand, pregnant or nursing women, women on hormone replacement therapy or those who have had estrogen-dependent cancer are advised to ask their health care professional before using resevratrol supplementation.

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