Resveratrol - is it the true elixir of youth?

Resveratrol - is it the true elixir of youth?

There are legends about the longevity of the French. They say they owe their longevity above all to the consumption of red wine, but it is not because of alcohol that they enjoy a lack of cardiovascular problems. Resveratrol is a compound that occurs in grapes and is not precipitated during fermentation, so red wine can be a real elixir of youth. But isn't its role overstated?

Resveratrol - occurrence

Researchers are sceptical about all natural medicine innovations. They look for answers to the question of whether a particular compound or remedy is actually effective. Putting the myth of longevity of the French on the line by drinking red wine, they set up an experiment involving elderly people who drank a glass of red wine once a day. The results of the study were not revolutionary, with resveratrol in grapes, where it is most abundant, proving to be of little effect. However, the researchers drew attention to an important fact: it is a comprehensive diet, not a single ingredient, that has a real impact on a person's life.

Red wine alone is not enough. Grapes in their unprocessed form, but also after fermentation, are by far the most rich source of this compound. A little further on, the list of other products containing the elixir of youth begins, namely:

  • berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants),
  • jackfruit,
  • nuts,
  • cocoa and chocolate,
  • tomato peel.

These are, of course, sources of the naturally occurring compound. Resveratol as tablets is increasingly on offer in health food shops, and for those reluctant to take this form of supplement there is also resveratol in drops.

Resveratrol - intrinsic properties and effects

Resveratrol has the most positive effect primarily on the cardiovascular system. This is due to the inhibition of platelet aggregation, which prevents the formation of dangerous blood clots. It also reduces the absorption of bad cholesterol (LDL), which has a direct impact on reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and coronary heart disease. The compound has also been proven to lower blood pressure as early as one hour after ingestion.

Another property of resveratrol is its effect on regulating energy balance. This in turn may prevent diet-related diseases, which include obesity. This is because the compound stimulates the process of fat cell disintegration. It also influences metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Resveratrol also has a significant role in cancer prevention and therapy by increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy. It can even inhibit the spread and metastasis of existing cancers. As a powerful antioxidant, it also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer's disease) and prevents osteoporosis.

Resveratrol in wine

Resveratrol is a substance that some plants synthesise in response to fungal infections or under the influence of a stress factor such as water shortage, UV radiation or tissue damage. More resveratrol also appears in plants grown in warm climates. This substance is also produced during the fermentation process of grape skins, which is why wine, especially red wine, is an excellent source of resveratrol as it is in longer contact with the skins during the fermentation process than white wine. The average resveratrol content of red wine is around 1.9 mg per litre. On the other hand, Pinot Noir, St.Laurent, Merlot and Blaufränkisch are considered to be the richest in terms of this component. Instead of wine, children and non-drinkers can provide their bodies with resveratrol in the form of fresh grapes and grape juice.

Resveratrol for cholesterol

In order to understand how resveratrol affects our cardiovascular system, it is worth tracing the processes that lead to one of its most dangerous diseases, namely atherosclerosis. Dysfunctions of the cardiovascular system originate from poor nutrition, insufficient physical activity and smoking. Initially, the diseases are associated with an increase in the level of bad cholesterol and damage to the endothelium of blood vessels. This in turn leads to inflammation and platelet activation. Atherosclerotic plaque is formed in the damaged areas, which narrows the lumen of the vessels and reduces their elasticity. Resveratrol has a protective effect on all these problems, as it not only reduces the absorption of bad cholesterol, but also inhibits platelet aggregation, dilates blood vessels and stops the inflammatory process. 

Resveratrol in cosmetics

Like any anti-ageing agent, resveratrol quickly gained the attention of cosmetic companies. Its properties have been proven by numerous studies, so we can safely say that it has an antioxidant effect by removing free radicals from the body and minimising their impact on the body. Thus, it protects skin cells from dying, which causes faster skin ageing.

In terms of regeneration, resveratrol also performs very well. It has regenerative, firming and anti-inflammatory effects. It prevents oxidative stress, which causes more wrinkles and robs the skin of its firmness. Its benefits are undoubtedly demonstrated by its ability to penetrate the stratum corneum, allowing it to have a deeper effect.

Skin rejuvenating effects include:

  • improving the hydration level and structure of the skin,
  • improving the elasticity of the skin,
  • anti-inflammatory and soothing effects,
  • strong anti-oxidant properties,
  • improvement of skin repair processes,
  • beneficial effect on vessels, including reduction of swelling,
  • lightening of discolourations,
  • reduction of the number and depth of already existing wrinkles

As a cosmetic ingredient, resveratrol works perfectly, however, introducing red wine into the diet on a permanent basis is not advisable. It may cause unnecessary complications, and will not bring the expected benefits. It is much more sensible to use the offer of cosmetics producers or supplements in tablet or liquid form.

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