Resveratrol Side Effects and Health Hazards

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resveratrol side effects Is Resveratrol Dangerous?

Resveratrol side effects are real, despite its many touted health benefits, so knowing how it can affect the body and interact with certain medications is important.

A polyphenol antioxidant, resveratrol can be found in the skin of grapes (and that’s why it’s in red wine) and other fruit such as blueberries and cranberries, and in peanuts and some root plants like Japanese Knotweed.

When it comes to resveratrol in grapes vs. wine, there is less of it in grapes, simply because wine is a concentrated form of grapes—that is, you’d have to eat a lot of grapes to get an equivalent amount. The Food and Drug Administration has not regulated resveratrol, which means that the rigorous testing that pharmaceutical drugs undergo has not been applied to this supplement, so caution is advised when taking it.

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Side Effects of Resveratrol

Is resveratrol safe? As a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol is sought after by many because of the benefits it has for lowering the risk of heart and vascular disease. In 2011, $50 million dollars’ worth of resveratrol supplements were sold and 90% of those sales were from the U.S. A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Physiology found that too much resveratrol cancelled out the positive changes in the participants’ blood pressure, HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and atherosclerosis, that exercise alone had made.

Most of the resveratrol side effects reported have been anecdotal to date, including claims (both pro and con) of resveratrol’s side effects on hair loss. The evidence for whether or not you can use resveratrol for weight loss remains inconclusive. More resveratrol side effects are outlined below:

1. Drug Interactions
There is some evidence to suggest that the dangers of resveratrol supplements make themselves known when taken with other medications. Resveratrol naturally lowers blood pressure and has an anti-coagulant effect, so it could affect how high blood pressure, anti-coagulant, and anti-platelet medications work. There are also reports on resveratrol’s side effects on liver medication. Be sure to consult your doctor if you plan to take this supplement and are on any of these medications.

2. Estrogenic Effects
Resveratrol can act like estrogen in the body, so for women who have breast cancer or for men and women who carry the cancer gene, resveratrol supplementation is not a good idea because estrogen can aggravate estrogen-dependent tumors in both breast and prostate cancer. Again, speak with your doctor before taking these supplements if there is a history of cancer in your family, if you have cancer, or if you carry the cancer gene.

3. Tummy Troubles
There have been some reports of gastrointestinal discomfort from taking resveratrol, so it’s possible that diarrhea, decreased appetite, and cramping can happen. If any of these symptoms present themselves, stop taking the supplement and talk to your doctor about a resveratrol dosage that works for you, or other alternative ways to get the antioxidant into your system if required.

4. Surgery
Resveratrol is an anticoagulant, which means it can increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery, so avoid resveratrol two weeks before and after surgery.

5. Arthritis Pain
Although rare, some people have reported joint pain that simulates arthritic pain when two or more grams of resveratrol were taken per day; these patients had no prior arthritic conditions. Pain was also felt in the hands, legs, hips, and Achilles tendons.

6. Jittery Feelings
Similar to ingesting too much caffeine, some people have reported feeling anxious and jittery when taking resveratrol. If this happens, stop taking it.

7. Insomnia
Some people have reported that they found it difficult to sleep when taking the supplement.

8. Flu-Like Symptoms
It’s possible to have muscle aches and cramps, and just generally feel under the weather when taking resveratrol. If these flu-like feelings don’t pass within five to seven days and disappear after stopping the resveratrol, then it’s likely it was the supplement making you feel this way.

9. Blood in the Urine
Finding some blood in your urine can also happen. If so, stop using resveratrol immediately and check with your doctor.

10. Acne
Many drugs and supplements cause acne, and this is one of them. Your body will likely adjust to it and the acne will disappear over time, but if it becomes an issue, simply stop taking it and the acne should clear up.

Consuming Resveratrol Naturally

Eating resveratrol foods is a natural way to get some of the antioxidant without the hefty potential side effects found in the supplement form. You won’t be getting too much of it at once, and you will also benefit from the nutrients, minerals, and fiber found in those natural sources. Four foods that are good to eat to get more resveratrol in your diet are:

  • Dark chocolate
  • All-natural peanut butter
  • Blueberries
  • Red grapes (in the skin)
  • Itadori tea. If you don’t drink red wine, this can be a suitable substitute for getting resveratrol into your diet.

Getting resveratrol to take advantage of its health benefits is a good idea and eating the foods listed above will give you what you need. Keep in mind that supplements do have side effects, and most natural foods do not, so decide which way is best for you to get your supplementation of this antioxidant. Remember, resveratrol side effects are real, so knowing how it can affect the body and interact with certain medications is important. Speak with your doctor first.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“Negative Effects of Resveratrol,” Livestrong web site; http://www.livestrong.com/article/34699-negative-effects-resveratrol/, last accessed March 14, 2016.
“Is Too Much Resveratrol Harmful?,” Everyday Health web site; http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/bill-abraham-heart-disease-prevention/is-too-much-resveratrol-harmful/, last accessed March 14, 2016.
“Resveratrol Supplements,” Web MD web site; http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/resveratrol-supplements?page=2, last accessed March 14, 2016.
“Resveratrol Side Effects,” Web MD web site;
http://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/resveratrol-side-effects, last accessed March 14, 2016.
“Resveratrol Side Effects and Possible Health Dangers,” Nootriment web site;
http://nootriment.com/resveratrol-side-effects/, last accessed March 14, 2016.
“4 Foods that Are Good Sources of Resveratrol,” LiveScience web site;
http://www.livescience.com/39125-foods-good-sources-resveratrol.html, last accessed March 14, 2016.
“Functional Foods and Beverages,” World Health web site;
http://www.worldhealth.net/forum/thread/99289/5-amazing-sources-of-resveratrol/?page=1, last accessed March 14, 2016.


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Dr. Alwyn Wong, DC

About the Author, Browse Alwyn's Articles

Dr. Alwyn Wong has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over fifteen years and brings with him a wealth of experience. He uses an integrated treatment approach, combining active release techniques (ART®), acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional consulting, and program design to treat his patients, many of whom have included professional athletes from the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and PGA, as well as Olympic, and IFBB athletes. Although his focus has shifted to more clinical work, he remains as... Read Full Bio »