Resveratrol, a popular plant extract, has long been known to prolong life in yeast and some animals. That is due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities. As it turns out, these same abilities are at work in the human body, too.
That’s where it gets interesting. Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found evidence that resveratrol could suppress inflammation in people. It’s based on what is believed to be the first human trial of the extract. The finding is set for publication in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.”
Resveratrol is produced naturally by some plants when a plant is under attack by a bacteria or fungi. More famously in natural medicine, it is found in the skin of red grapes and, as a result, floating in red wine and grape juice. You can find it in any health store.
The plant-based compound has been shown to prolong life and to reduce the rate of aging in several living things: yeast, roundworms and fruit flies, to be exact. (That may be why red wine is a favorite drink for the flies.) This is thought to be because resveratrol strengthens a gene (i.e. increases its expression) that is linked to living longer.
Resveratrol is also thought to play a role in insulin resistance, a condition related to oxidative stress, which has a significant detrimental effect on overall health. Since there was no information on how this applies to humans, the researchers decided to determine if the compound reduces the level of oxidative and inflammatory stress in more advanced living things: namely, humans.
They used a supplement containing 40 mg of resveratrol in the study. One group of 10 participants received the supplement, while the other group received placebo. Participants took the pill once a day for six weeks. Researchers took blood samples at the start of the trial and at weeks one, three and six.
Results showed that resveratrol suppressed free radicals, which are the dangerous, unstable molecules known to cause oxidative stress and inflammation, thus damaging cells and blood vessels. Researchers also noted fewer markers of inflammation in those who took the supplement. This, the study said, helps shield the body from type 2 diabetes, aging, heart disease, and stroke.
Those on the placebo had no change in inflammation. So, as of now, this is good news for a very promising supplement.