Resveratrol is the polyphenol everyone has heard of because of the French paradox, hoping that drinking a bit of wine every day may indeed be miraculous. Resveratrol does have unique antioxidant, heart- and brain-protective benefits. It even triggers epigenetic changes that may put off aging and increase your energy levels. But not all resveratrol is the same: dosage, timing, synergies, and bioavailability all matter. Read this science-based review to learn more.

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a small polyphenol that came to scientific attention during the 1990s. Since then, it has been hyped as the new miracle drug.

It’s been nicknamed “the French Paradox in a bottle” since resveratrol is found in red wine that the French like to consume it in not-so-moderate quantities alongside a diet high in saturated fats. Yet, the French have very low rates of heart disease. While the resveratrol in red wine is unlikely to fully account for the paradox, it may certainly add to it [R].

Resveratrol is high in grape skin, as grapes produce resveratrol in defense against toxins and parasites. It is also found in various berries, peanuts, soy, and “Itadori tea” made from Japanese Knotweed [R].

The scientific community has explored its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-aging, and phytoestrogen activity. Resveratrol does hold some potential for improving chronic diseases and increasing longevity. It may also mimic the effects of caloric restriction, which increases lifespan in animals [R, R].

Clinical studies suggest that resveratrol is likely safe, but it has one major flaw: poor bioavailability. Resveratrol is absorbed into the blood from the gut a bit better than other polyphenols (such as quercetin). But it gets broken down fast, leaving little free resveratrol in the bloodstream. That’s why a lot of the findings from animals and cells might not apply to humans [R].

Resveratrol Snapshot

PROS

  • Anti-aging and antioxidant
  • Activates detox and fat-burning genes
  • Protects the brain
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • May help prevent cancer
  • Helps fight infections

CONS

  • Resveratrol binds to iron, which could be a problem if you’re anemic
  • Poor bioavailability
  • Interacts with some drugs and supplements
  • Megadoses can be harmful, cause nausea or stomach upset

Resveratrol Health Benefits

1) Resveratrol is an Antioxidant

Resveratrol has dual antioxidant activity: it’s a direct antioxidant and it increases many antioxidant enzymes, genes, and pathways.

Its antioxidant effects underlie many of its health benefits. This is because oxidative stress and inflammation trigger or worsen numerous diseases – from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and cognitive decline [R].

Resveratrol increased key antioxidant enzymes in cellular and animal studies, including the following:

  • SOD and NRF2, crucial components of the detox hub and antioxidant defense [R, R]
  • Glutathione [R]
  • Heme-oxygenase 1, which breaks down hem from hemoglobin to antioxidants and iron [R].
  • Catalase, which protects from oxidative damage [R]
  • Sirtuins and SIRT enzymes, which turn off aging-related genes and protect proteins [R]

At the same time, resveratrol reduces free radicals and inflammatory substances (including iNOS, MyeloperoxidaseNADPH oxidase) [R, R, R, R].

2) Resveratrol is Anti-inflammatory

Aside from its indirect antioxidant effects on inflammation, resveratrol also affects very specific inflammatory processes. For one, it blocks inflammatory COX enzymes, which are also the main target of commonly used painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like Motrin) [R].

But its effects run much deeper than these conventionally targeted enzymes. Resveratrol also blocks the following key players (in animals or cells):

  • NF-kB pathway, one of the most important and deeply rooted triggers of inflammation in the body [R]
  • HMGB1, a protein made by immune cells that causes inflammation and tissue damage in autoimmune diseases like arthritis [R].
  • STAT3, which contributes to problems in most people with chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases such as IBD, obesity, cancer, or Th1/Th17 dominance [R].

3) Resveratrol May Be Anti-Aging

Resveratrol may not be the philosopher’s stone that will confer you immortality, but it does beneficially impact some important aging-related disease pathways.

Based on animal and cellular research, resveratrol may combat some age-related disorders by [R, R]:

  • Mimicking the effects of caloric restriction, which increases lifespan in animals
  • Reducing oxidative stress and inflammation on multiple levels (enzymes, immune cells, gene expression)
  • Activating SIRT1, which turns off genes that promote aging

Senescence and inflammation

One of the theories scientists use to explain aging involves so-called “cellular senescence”. With aging, cells become senescent and less resilient to stress, they lose their function and start making inflammatory substances. This loss of function and inflammation on a cellular level then extends to organs and tissues: the brain, heart, muscles, skin, and gut – and the body as a whole – also start to degenerate and lose function [R].

SIRT1 is an enzyme that can turn off genes that trigger cellular senescence. By activating SIRT1, resveratrol may epigenetically hinder the aging process, at least based on cellular studies. Clinical studies are needed to determine whether or not resveratrol can extend the lifespan in humans [R, R].

Autophagy and Cellular Quality Control

Autophagy is a normal process that triggers the destruction of damaged cells, recycling the products of broken-down cells to make new and healthy ones. Autophagy is our body’s main “Quality Control Officer”. Aging and age-related diseases are all linked to impaired autophagy.

Caloric restriction may promote longevity and healthy aging by activating autophagy but it’s not for everyone. Caloric restriction may be especially tricky for older or thin people who struggle to get enough nutrients in their daily diet anyway. In animal studies, resveratrol confers similar benefits to caloric restriction and increases autophagy induction without the need to reduce daily calorie intake [R].

4) Resveratrol May Protect the Brain

Glial cells in the brain provide support and protection to neurons, Their damage or dysfunction is linked to many brain diseases, while their beneficial activity depends on how much of the neurotransmitter glutamate they can take in. In a cellular study, resveratrol increased their glutamate uptake, which is linked to better protection from brain degeneration and stroke [R].

In animal studies, resveratrol reduced seizures and protected the hippocampus, the brain’s main memory hub. It also increases IGF-1 in the hippocampus, which improves cognition [R, R].

It’s especially intriguing that resveratrol may protect the brain by acting on the gut-brain axis. Its benefits may not even depend on it being absorbed and passing the blood-brain barrier. In mice, it stimulated gut nerves, which passed the signal on to the hippocampus. Resveratrol was undetectable in the hippocampus, it improved cognition only by activating nerves in the gut [R].

In a study on brain cells, resveratrol increased the activity of the antioxidant gene heme-oxygenase 1, which protects the brain from damage. These benefits were enhanced by melatonin [R].

In mice with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, long-term resveratrol supplementation reduced cognitive impairment and disease biomarkers. It could also activate AMPK, which maintains energy balance in the brain under challenging conditions [R, R].

5) Resveratrol Keeps Your Heart Healthy and Strong

In 67 men at high heart disease risk, alcohol-free red wine reduced blood pressure (both diastolic and systolic) after 4 weeks. It increased nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. Regular red wine (9 oz glass/day) also slightly reduced blood pressure and increase nitric oxide, but less so than dealcoholized wine. A control group that only drank gin didn’t see any benefits [R].

One analysis of 19 studies concluded that drinking 1 – 2 glasses of wine daily (150 – 300 ml) greatly reduces heart disease risk [R].

But based on the first study, alcohol in red wine may actually reduce the beneficial effect of resveratrol and other polyphenols. This especially holds true for people who already have high blood pressure or those at high risk.

In healthy people, though, moderate intake of red wine may indeed improve heart health. In a study of 80 healthy, young people, a smaller amount of red wine (100 ml/day) over 3 weeks boosted blood vessel health, nitric oxide, and the number of cells that regenerate blood vessels (endothelial progenitor cells). Drinking water, beer, or vodka didn’t achieve these effects [R].

In cells, resveratrol increased the enzyme that makes nitric oxide (NO synthase) [R].

According to animal and cellular studies, resveratrol also reduces the formation of plaques in arteries, known as atherosclerosis. It also reduces the clumping of platelets, reduces blood lipids, and lowers inflammatory substances that increase that risk of atherosclerosis [R].

In cells, resveratrol increases the expression of the PON1 gene, which reduces inflammation and helps detox pesticides and drugs [R].

6) Resveratrol Balances the Gut Microbiome and Bile Production

The gut microbiome can also protect against diseases of the arteries. It protected blood vessels in mice without APOE, stopped harmful bacteria in their gut from secreting harmful oxidative substances (like TMAO), and balanced their microbiome. It increased beneficial gut bacteria (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium), which increased the production of bile acids [R].

Resveratrol may counter lower bile acid production and the weaker ability to eliminate cholesterol in people with heart disease. Its balancing action in the gut adds to its general antioxidative effects and direct benefits on the heart and blood vessels [R].

7) Resveratrol May Balance Blood Sugars

Resveratrol helps with glucose metabolism. In 11 healthy but obese men, resveratrol (150 mg/day) increased insulin sensitivity and lowered blood sugar levels after 30 days [R].

It also raised SIRT1 and PGC-1a levels. SIRT is an enzyme crucial for “turning off” harmful genes that increase fat deposits, blood sugars, and inflammation in the body, while PGC-1a supports healthy mitochondria [R].

Resveratrol lowered blood sugars in numerous studies on rats with diabetes. It prompts cells to take in more glucose, which reduces insulin resistance. Resveratrol also protects the insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas, which helps increase insulin when it’s low and decrease it when it’s too high [R].

Thanks to its effects on numerous key processes in sugar and fat metabolism, resveratrol may prove to be very useful in preventing and improving both insulin resistance and diabetes.

8) Resveratrol May Combat Obesity

Resveratrol stopped fat cells from making new fats and triggered their death, in cell-based studies. It accomplishes this by turning off genes that cause weight gain (such as PPAR gamma) while activating genes that enhance energy use and mitochondrial health (SIRT3, UCP1) [R, R].

Additionally, resveratrol may boost weight loss by blocking several key fat-creating enzymes (called fatty acid synthase, lipoprotein lipase, and hormone-sensitive lipase) [R].

In mice fed a high-fat diet, resveratrol reduced oxidative stress and prevented the death of protective immune cells called Tregs (R).

9) Resveratrol May Boost Bone Health

Stem cells in the connective tissue are presented with several possibilities: to develop into fat cells, bone-building cells, joint, or muscle cells. Resveratrol activates the fat-burning pathway (SIRT1), which blocks genes that increase fat storage (PPAR gamma). This epigenetic shift causes stem cells to develop into bone-building cells, which may boost bone health [R].

Resveratrol synergizes with Vitamin D and vitamin K2 to protect the bones and increase their mineralization [R].

10) Resveratrol May Prevent Cancer

Scientists are investigating resveratrol for its potential to prevent cancer development, growth, and spreading or metastasis – especially in liver cancer. In cell-based studies, resveratrol protects against liver cancer. But resveratrol also blocks the growth of leukemia cells and other cancer cell types [R, R, R].

In mice, resveratrol applied to the skin before UVB exposure prevented skin cancers. Given orally, it was effective against esophageal cancer in rats [R, R].

Since resveratrol is an antioxidant phytoestrogen, it may be especially useful for breast cancer. It blocks the enzyme aromatase, which makes estrogen. High activity of this enzyme and high estrogen levels worsens a common type of breast cancer that has receptors for estrogen (receptor-positive or ER+) [R, R].

In animal studies, resveratrol could prevent and reduce the growth of breast cancer. Although it offers a lot of hope and doesn’t cause side effects, clinical studies are needed to determine its efficacy and bioavailability in breast cancer patients [R].

Aside from its hormonal effects, resveratrol can also regulate another key cancer enzyme called the topoisomerase II enzyme. In cells from a deadly brain tumor (glioblastoma), resveratrol blocked the activity of this cancer enzyme, which prevented the brain tumor cells from dividing [R].

10) Resveratrol May Improve Liver Health

Resveratrol may protect against liver disease and improve bile flow. In animals, it prevented and improved Nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease and improved conditions of obstructed bile flow (by blocking MMP-2 and MMP-9). It also prevents liver damage in animals with sepsis, or blood poisoning from serious infections [R, R, R].

11) Resveratrol May Enhance Muscle Growth

Thanks to its antioxidant activity, resveratrol can increase muscle-building pathways and block processes that degrade proteins (proteolysis). For example, it increased the size of fish and enhanced their muscle growth in one study [R].

In another study, resveratrol supplementation enhanced the exercise training response, upper muscle strength, and aerobic performance in rats. Its benefits again probably stem from the epigenetic changes it triggers, activating fat- and sugar-burning sirtuins (SIRT1) and other molecules that heighten energy levels (AMPK and PGC-a) [R].

12) Resveratrol May Protect Against Radiation

In mice, high-dose resveratrol had a good anti-radiation effect. It prevented the decline in bone marrow and white blood cells from radiation, helping to maintain proper immune function. It also increased the antioxidant and detox enzyme SOD without causing adverse effects [R].

13) Resveratrol May Prevent Hearing Loss

Noise increases free radicals, which can cause ear damage and hearing loss. In mice exposed to damaging noise, resveratrol protected against hearing loss by neutralizing free radicals and improving blood flow in the ears [R].

In a different rat study, resveratrol prevented ear damage from the toxic chemotherapy drug cisplatin [R].

14) Resveratrol May Boost Male Sex Hormones

By balancing the response to estrogen, resveratrol affects reproductive health in both men and women. In male rats, resveratrol increased testosterone and sperm count without any adverse effects. It activates the HPG – hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal – axis that controls sex hormone release from the hypothalamus via the pituitary in the brain.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-axis-adapted-

15) Resveratrol May Balance Female Sex Hormones

In women, resveratrol acts in a somewhat different and more subtle way. In one trial of 40 postmenopausal women, resveratrol (1g/day for 12 weeks) didn’t affect estrogen or testosterone but increased the protein that binds sex hormones and carries them through the blood (SHBG) by 10%. It also improved estrogen metabolism, which lowers the risk of breast cancer [R].

In animals, it blocks the enzyme that makes estrogen (aromatase) and mildly activates estrogen receptors. Resveratrol binds to estrogen receptors much weaker than estrogen does, which has a balancing effect: it may help increase estrogen-like activity when this female sex hormone is low (as after menopause) or decrease it when it’s too high (as in some cancers) [R, R].

16) Resveratrol May Reduce Acne

In a clinical trial of 20 people with acne, a gel with resveratrol showed positive results over 2 months. It reduced acne severity by almost 70% and improved overall skin health by over 50% with no adverse effects. The team discovered that cosmetic products with resveratrol are stable and don’t degrade when kept in the fridge (at 4°C/40°F) [R].

17) Resveratrol May Help Fight Infections

Antiviral Activity

Resveratrol has strong viral-fighting action, according to numerous cell-based or animal studies. It was effective against:

  • The herpes virus infection in ducks and geese as well as in cells [R, R]
  • Viruses that cause both oral herpes (HSV-1) and genital herpes (HSV-2) [R]
  • The Influenza virus, which causes the common cold [R]
  • The Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis (“the kissing disease”) [R]
  • Viruses that cause lung infections (the Respiratory Syncytial virus) in mice and in cells (Human meta pneumonia and Human rhinovirus virus) [R]
    • Its effect on lung infections is enhanced in combination with quercetin [R]
  • HIV-1 in synergism with the anti-HIV drug decitabine [R]
  • The virus that causes chickenpox (Varicella zoster) [R]
  • Viruses linked to gut infections (Enterovirus 71) [R]
  • The African swine fever virus [R]

Antifungal Activity

Resveratrol could kill the Candida albicans yeast in a cell-based study [R].

Antibacterial Activity

Resveratrol may fight bacterial infections. For example, it could even kill hard-to-treat MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in clinical bacterial samples from infected patients. It acts in synergy with luteolin and quercetin. With more research, these flavonoids may provide some solutions to the worldwide rise in antibiotic resistance [R].

IN other cell-based studies, resveratrol showed antibacterial activity against:

  • The ulcer-causing E.Coli, in which case its poor bioavailability may be beneficial to achieve the desired effects in the gut [R]
  • Acne-causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes), for which it can be applied as a gel or cream [R]
  • STD-causing bacteria (Haemophilus ducreyi) [R]
  • Diarrhea-causing bacteria (Arcobacter butzleri and Arcobacter cryaerophilusa) [R]

18) Resveratrol Increases Sensitivity to Vitamin D

Resveratrol alone and by SIRT1 activation makes you more sensitive to vitamin D. Resveratrol can activate the vitamin D receptor (VDR), which increases the response to vitamin D and its activity in the body [R, R].

Resveratrol increases the binding of calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol) to VDR and activates the retinoid receptors (RXR), which are crucial for the proper activity of vitamin D [R].

19) Resveratrol May Reduce Pain

Resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory that may safely reduce both pain and inflammation. In animal studies, resveratrol given directly into the brain reduced the sensitivity of pain. Its pain-relieving effects could be to its ability to block COX-1 and COX-2 inflammatory enzymes, the same targets of commonly used NSAID painkillers [R].

Oral resveratrol also reduced pain and inflammation in mice, but injections had a stronger effect. In another study, resveratrol decreased hard-to-treat neuropathic pain in mice [R, R].

While its oral bioavailability is still unclear, one way to bypass this is to use resveratrol creams locally, applied directly to painful areas such as joints or the back. It’s well-known that resveratrol can penetrate the skin, but higher concentrations than those present in most cosmetic products may be needed to achieve pain relief.

20) Resveratrol May Increase Neurotransmitters in the Brain

Resveratrol blocked the enzymes that take noradrenaline and serotonin back into brain cells from neurons in rat brains, which increases their concentration in the synapse. By increasing serotonin activity in the brain, resveratrol may boost mood in a mechanism similar to antidepressants [R].

Resveratrol also blocks MAO (MAOA and MAOB), an enzyme that breaks down monoamine neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which is equally important for antidepressant effects [R].

Neurogenetics & the Warrior Gene (MAOA)

Resveratrol blocks MAO-A more than MAO-B (in rat brains) [R].

MAO-A is the “warrior gene” because some of its genetic variations (2R and 3R) are linked to increased violence and aggressiveness. This gene codes for the enzyme MAOA that breaks down neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.

If you have high levels of this enzyme, you’ll have fewer neurotransmitters available in the brain. This is because more neurotransmitters are being broken down at a faster rate.

On the other hand, if you have low levels of this enzyme, you’ll have more neurotransmitters.

MAOA balance is key: you don’t to it be too high or too low because both situations will cause different negative effects.

Resveratrol would be more suited for people predisposed to high MAO activity, as it blocks this enzyme and can compensate for potentially low neurotransmitter levels.

If you’re curious to learn more, you can upload your genotype file to SelfDecode and look at the following SNPs:

MAOB is similar to MAOA but plays a more important role in the risk for Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Overactivity of this gene can lower levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in areas of the brain important for the onset of these diseases. Resveratrol also blocks MAOB, but the effect is more modest. Still, those predisposed to high MAOB may benefit from it [R].

21) Resveratrol May Reduce Autoimmunity

You may not have heard of mTOR, but is one of the body’s key regulators behind the scenes. This enzyme controls the activity of over 800 other proteins [R]!

Its expression is usually increased in times of plentiful nutrient intake and decreased in times of stress and calorie restriction. And while it does increase energy production, it also increases waste products and reduces repair processes (including autophagy), all of which can trigger autoimmune problems in the long run [R].

Resveratrol blocks mTOR signaling in a unique way, according to cell-based studies. An over-active mTOR has been linked to autoimmunity and cancer, while reducing mTOR activity may help prevent these diseases while also promoting longevity [R].

Dosage & Supplement Forms

Most supplements contain 50 – 500 mg of Resveratrol. Some contain higher doses, usually up to 1,200 mg.

The clinical studies are still limited. If we were to judge by the majority of animal studies, resveratrol was used at doses of 5 mg/kg of body weight, which would translate to about 340 mg for a 150-pound person (68 kg). Some animal studies used much higher doses, though, which would equate to 2 g/day of resveratrol or more in humans [R].

Luckily, the available clinical studies used typical resveratrol doses with good results:

  • The dose of pure resveratrol taken orally varied between 150 – 500 mg/day. For boosting weight loss and mimicking the longevity-promoting effects of intermittent fasting, resveratrol was used at 150 mg/day for at least 30 days. Higher doses are needed for effects on brain circulation and sex hormones  [R]
  • Drinking 1 – 2 glasses of wine daily (100 – 300 ml) reduced the risk of heart disease and improved blood vessel health. Alcohol-free wine is more beneficial, especially in people who are already at risk for heart disease.

Note: Wine may not be an option for people with autoimmune and histamine issues, as it can worsen these conditions.

Resveratrol is available in many forms as a supplement for oral use. You can purchase it as:

  • Capsules
  • Liquid filled capsules/softgels
  • Liquid supplements (such as Eniva ResVante Reserve)
  • Tablets
  • Liposomal resveratrol

Most studies concluded that trans-resveratrol is the more active form of resveratrol (compared to cis-resveratrol). Make sure to check the supplement label.

Resveratrol has also been formulated into various products for skin care or topical use. The following are available:

  • Cream for skin care
  • Cream for pain relief (higher resveratrol concentration)
  • Serum
  • Gel
  • Balm

Resveratrol is often combined with other antioxidants or herbs in pain-relief creams or skin care products.

Resveratrol Normal vs. Mega Doses

Resveratrol dosage effects
Image taken from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21115559

Hormesis is the concept of introducing small dose, acute “stress” to the body, which will elicit a reaction that preps it for future stressors that are even stronger. Being prepped, the body can shift into a state of higher performance. Essentially, what doesn’t harm you too much makes you stronger. With philosophy, it’s crucial not to fall into the trap of potentially dangerous megadoses.

In various trials, resveratrol consistently triggered hormetic responses, with opposite effects at low (normal) doses and very high (mega) doses [R].

For example, at low doses resveratrol enhanced ulcer healing and protects the blood vessels. But in high doses, it can delay healing and cause heart damage. The doses used in cellular studies are way higher than those found even in very high-dose supplements [R].

Bioavailability

Resveratrol has good absorption but low bioavailability.

Out of the resveratrol you take, very little of it stays in the bloodstream in the free form. This is because resveratrol binds to proteins or lipoproteins in the blood. Liver enzymes also quickly catch free resveratrol and modify it via CYP450 enzymes (sulfation and glucuronidation) [R].

Based on animal findings, tissues could still take up and store resveratrol, even though its free form blood levels are very low. Resveratrol is a relatively small molecule and should be able to cross into the brain. But whether humans can store resveratrol in any tissues, including the brain, is still unknown [R].

Some ways to increase the bioavailability of resveratrol include [R]:

  • Taking it with piperine, a natural compound found in black pepper
  • Combining resveratrol with other polyphenols or flavonoids
  • Searching for Liposomal or nano-resveratrol formulations
  • Taking resveratrol along with a high-fat meal (especially if seeking brain protection) [R]

Scientists are also working on modifying resveratrol to increase its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. The studies are still limited to animals, but Piceatannol is one promising resveratrol derivative for combating Alzheimer’s disease [R].

Resveratrol Synergies

The action of resveratrol can be enhanced in smart ways if combined with additional natural compounds. Its top synergies include the following:

  • Since resveratrol increases the longevity-promoting, inflammation-reducing SIRT1, taking with Niagen NAD+ will make it more effective by additionally boosting SIRT1
  • Combined with the phytoestrogen Genistein, resveratrol had a two-fold stronger effect on fat-burning (in fat cells) [R]
  • The synergy between Quercetin and Resveratrol has been confirmed in numerous studies, but it’s especially good for protecting the blood vessels. Besides, this flavonoid mix also boosts fat-burning and may prevent the growth of colon cancer cells [R, R, R]
  • The combination of all 3 mentioned above – Resveratrol, Genistein, and Quercetin – is also highly synergistic. Low dosing of these 3 natural compounds can provide cumulatively similar benefits at cheaper costs [R].
  • Resveratrol boosts the activity of vitamin D (via VDR) and acts in synergy with vitamin K2. Getting plenty of sunshine along with vitamin K2 and resveratrol would especially help postmenopausal women maintain healthy bones.
  • Resveratrol along with Curcumin could fight lung cancer in animals better than each compound alone [R]
  • Melatonin and resveratrol act in synergy to protect the brain and increase antioxidant defense [R]
  • Resveratrol’s anti-cancer effects can be increased in combination with sulfur-containing bioactive compounds from cruciferous vegetables (such as the glucosinolate Indole-3-carbinol) [R]
  • Resveratrol also had stronger cancer-fighting activity when used with grape seed extract, which may work well for preventing skin cancer (via the p53 pathway, cell-based) [R, R]

Resveratrol Dietary Sources

How much resveratrol is there in wine?

Typically, the total concentration of resveratrol is:

  • Between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/L in red wine (around 2 mg/L on average)
  • Only about 0.68 mg/L in white wine

Red wine has six times more trans-resveratrol than white wine; white wine contains high levels of cis-resveratrol, which has been less studied and is probably less active. Red wine is extracted without removing the grape skin, which explains its higher resveratrol content. White wine is fermented after the resveratrol-rich grape skin is removed [R].

The richest source of resveratrol comes from the red grapes of Spain (1.89 mg per five-ounce glass) [R].

Other Sources

“Itadori tea”, made from Japanese Knotweed, is a great source of resveratrol. Itadori means “well-being” in Japanese. This tea would be especially suitable for people who want to stick to food sources but don’t tolerate red wine (or shouldn’t drink it due to health issues) [R].

Other food sources of resveratrol include dark chocolate, various berries, soy, and raw or boiled peanuts [R].

The amount of resveratrol in most foods is probably too low to expect specific health benefits. For example:

  • 1 cup of Boiled Peanuts contains 1.28 mg of Resveratrol
  • Peanut Butter contains up to 13 mg per cup of Resveratrol

Safety & Side Effects

Resveratrol taken at up to 500 mg/day was well tolerated in clinical studies on healthy people [R].

High doses of highly bioavailable resveratrol (amounting to 5 g/day) given to cancer patients with metastases didn’t cause any serious side effects. Some patients, however, did experience nausea and stomach upset [R, R].

In Children

Resveratrol is likely safe in children (over 5 years of age) [R].

In Pregnancy

It has been suggested that resveratrol is beneficial in pregnancy for balancing metabolism and prenatal health. No clinical studies investigated resveratrol in pregnant women, though. Taking resveratrol through food is most likely safe, but supplements should be avoided due to the lack of safety data.

In one study on monkeys who were fed a resveratrol-rich diet throughout pregnancy, resveratrol has both good and bad effects [R]:

  • It reduced weight gain in pregnancy, improved glucose tolerance, increased blood flow to the fetus, and decreased inflammation of the placenta and liver.
  • However, it increased the pancreas in the fetuses by about 40% and caused cells in the fetus pancreas to over-divide.

Overall, it seems to benefit the mother but may be harmful to the baby. Its effects on the pancreas of the fetus are a serious cause of concern.

Dogs and cats

Resveratrol is generally considered safe in dogs for the same health benefits mentioned here that apply to people. However, studies on dogs are virtually non-existent. It’s well-known that humans can tolerate some compounds that are toxic for dogs, such substances other than resveratrol found in grapes.

With increased interest and popularity of resveratrol as a supplement for humans, its use has extended to pets. Manufacturers created analogous resveratrol supplements for dogs and cats. Resveratrol is also added to special dog food for its antioxidant and longevity-promoting effects.

We advise caution if using resveratrol for your dog (or cat) until more studies confirm it’s safe. In one study, resveratrol added to blood taken from dogs increased inflammatory cytokines and decreased anti-inflammatory defense. The dosage used in this cellular study may have been higher than what can be accomplished with typical oral doses but still raises safety concerns [R].

Contraindications

Resveratrol may reduce iron absorption and/or blood levels, which could potentially worsen anemia.

Resveratrol turns on genes that code for an important protein involved in iron metabolism (hepcidin), which reduces iron absorption. On the over hand, resveratrol effect on iron metabolism would be beneficial in cases of iron overload [R, R, R].

Drug Interactions

Resveratrol may interact with drugs in the gut or in the liver, especially with those are broken down by the same liver enzymes (CYP450). Resveratrol may interact with [R]:

  • Statins (Mevacor)
  • Drugs for reducing high blood pressure (such as nifedipine)
  • Drugs used to reduce heart arrhythmias (amiodarone)
  • Antifungals (Sporanox)
  • Antihistamines (Allegra)
  • Sedatives/anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines like Valium)
  • Antidepressants (Halcion)
  • Antivirals and HIV drugs (protease inhibitors)
  • Drugs that reduce the immune response (immunosuppressants)
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) medication
  • Resveratrol may also reduce blood clotting, enhancing the activity of anti-clotting drugs (anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs such as Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Dalteparin, Heparin, and Warfarin). If you are taking any of these drugs and have a surgery scheduled, you may need to discuss with your doctor and stop taking resveratrol at least two weeks before surgery.
  • NSAID painkillers/anti-inflammatories like Diclofenac (Voltaren), Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Anaprox)
  • Herbal supplements St Johns Wort, Garlic, and Ginkgo biloba.

What I Use Resveratrol For (Joe’s experience)

Resveratrol is one of my favorite supplements. I use resveratrol to improve circadian rhythm amplitude and reduce inflammation. Increasing your circadian amplitude results in increased energy in the daytime and increased tiredness at night, which helps me get good sleep.

When I take resveratrol first thing in the morning, I feel much more energetic that day. Sometimes, resveratrol makes me feel like I have excess energy.

I personally take about 500 mg of resveratrol (I’m about 70 kg), which equates to roughly 3 teaspoons of the liposomal form. I take it with Niagen NAD+, which synergizes its effects on circadian amplitude by increasing SIRT1.

When to Take Resveratrol

It’s best to take resveratrol first thing in the morning. Resveratrol can boost your energy levels, so taking it at night is usually not a good idea.

Buy Resveratrol

About the Author

Ana Aleksic - MS (PHARMACY) - Writer at Selfhacked

Ana Aleksic, MSc (Pharmacy)

MS (PHARMACY)

Ana received her MS in Pharmacy from the University of Belgrade.

Ana has many years of experience in clinical research and health advising. She loves communicating science and empowering people to achieve their optimal health. Ana spent years working with patients who suffer from various mental health issues and chronic health problems. She is a strong advocate of integrating scientific knowledge and holistic medicine.

Click here to subscribe

RATE THIS ARTICLE

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(11 votes, average: 4.27 out of 5)
Loading...

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.