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21 Purported Resveratrol Benefits + Dosage, Side Effects

Written by Ana Aleksic, MSc (Pharmacy) | Last updated:
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology), Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Ana Aleksic, MSc (Pharmacy) | Last updated:

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resveratrol red wine

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 healthy. Resveratrol does have some antioxidant and heart-protective properties. However, its bioavailability is poor and most of its purported benefits have not been confirmed in humans. Read this science-based review to learn more.

What is Resveratrol?

The French Paradox

Resveratrol is a small polyphenol that came to scientific attention during the 1990s. Since then, it has been hyped by supplement manufacturers and news outlets alike.

This compound has 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 [1].

While the resveratrol in red wine is unlikely to fully account for the paradox, some scientists say it may be a contributing factor [1].

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 [2].

Limited studies have explored its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and phytoestrogen activity. Resveratrol does hold some potential for improving chronic diseases. Researchers are also exploring its ability to mimic the effects of caloric restriction in animals, which might affect lifespan [3, 1].

Clinical studies suggest that resveratrol is likely safe. However, no long-term studies have been done with humans [1].

Resveratrol also 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. Scientists say that this is one reason why a lot of the findings from animals and cells might not apply to humans [1].

Additionally, resveratrol supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use. Supplements generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.

Snapshot

Proponents

  • Antioxidant
  • May be anti-aging
  • May activate detox genes
  • May support brain and heart health
  • May help fight infections
  • Safe when consumed from wine or foods

Skeptics

  • Binds to iron and may not be safe in people who are anemic
  • Poor bioavailability
  • Clinical studies lacking or showing no health benefits
  • Interacts with some drugs and supplements
  • High doses may be harmful
  • Long-term safety is unknown
  • May cause nausea or stomach upset

Resveratrol Purported Health Benefits

1) Is an Antioxidant

Scientists believe resveratrol may have dual antioxidant activity: as a direct antioxidant and as a compound that may increase other antioxidant enzymes, genes, and pathways.

Antioxidant claims underlie many of its purported health benefits. Based on this theory, oxidative stress and inflammation trigger or worsen numerous diseases – from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and cognitive decline [1].

Resveratrol increased 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 [4]
  • Heme-oxygenase 1, which breaks down hem from hemoglobin to antioxidants and iron [5].
  • Catalase, which protects from oxidative damage [4]
  • Sirtuins and SIRT enzymes, which turn off aging-related genes and protect proteins [1]

At the same time, limited studies suggest that resveratrol reduces free radicals and inflammatory substances (including iNOS, Myeloperoxidase, NADPH oxidase) [R, R, R, R].

2) May Reduce Inflammation

Aside from its indirect antioxidant effects on inflammation, resveratrol is theorized to affect specific inflammatory processes.

For one, it may block inflammatory COX enzymes, which are also the main target of commonly used painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like Motrin). However, resveratrol’s mechanism and anti-inflammatory potential hasn’t been clinically confirmed [6].

Some scientists suspect that resveratrol also blocks the following inflammatory players (in animals or cells):

  • NF-kB pathway, one of the most important and deeply-rooted triggers of inflammation in the body, according to some theories [7]
  • HMGB1, a protein made by immune cells that causes inflammation and tissue damage in autoimmune diseases like arthritis [8]
  • STAT3, which may contribute to problems in people with chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases such as IBD, obesity, cancer, or Th1/Th17 dominance [9]

3) May Be Anti-Aging

Resveratrol may not be the philosopher’s stone that will confer you immortality, but it scientists are looking to see if it can beneficially impact some important aging-related disease pathways.

Based on animal and cellular research, they hypothesize that resveratrol may combat some age-related disorders by [10, 11]:

  • 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

We’ll present some interesting aging-related resveratrol research and hypotheses below. Nonetheless, the whole “anti-aging theory” of resveratrol remains unproven.

Senescence, Inflammation & Autophagy

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 producing inflammatory substances [12].

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, especially if the body cannot or does not eliminate the dysfunctional cells through a process called autophagy [12].

SIRT1 is an enzyme that can turn off genes that trigger cellular senescence. Scientists are wondering if, by activating SIRT1, resveratrol may epigenetically hinder the aging process, at least based on cellular studies [1, 13].

Autophagy & 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.”

Some theories have linked aging and age-related diseases to impaired autophagy. Though these theories are still a topic of research, they have yet to be confirmed or rejected.

Autophagy theories also led to the recent boom in caloric-restriction practices. Caloric restriction is said to promote longevity and healthy aging by activating autophagy [14].

However, caloric restriction is not safe for everyone. It may be especially tricky for older or thin people who struggle to get enough nutrients in their daily diet.

In animal studies, resveratrol confers similar benefits to caloric restriction and increases autophagy induction without the need to reduce daily calorie intake. These effects have not been investigated in humans yet [14].

Clinical studies are needed to determine whether or not resveratrol can extend lifespan in humans.

4) May Support Brain Health

Glial cells, specifically astrocytes, provide support and protection to neurons and their damage or dysfunction is linked to many brain-related diseases [15].

One of the ways in which astrocytes protect neurons is by removing excess glutamate (a neurotransmitter) from synapses and the extracellular space that surrounds neurons. Excess glutamate in the brain can lead to excitotoxicity and ultimately neuronal damage or even death [15].

In a cellular study, resveratrol increased their glutamate uptake. Theoretically, this is linked to better protection from brain degeneration and stroke. However, we can’t draw this conclusion from a cell-based study [15].

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 may improve cognition [16, 17].

One research group suggested that resveratrol may protect the brain by acting on the gut-brain axis [18].

According to this unproven theory, resveratrol’s potential benefits may not even depend on it being absorbed and passing the blood-brain barrier. In mice, resveratrol 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 [18].

In a study on brain cells, resveratrol increased the activity of the antioxidant gene heme-oxygenase 1, which protects the brain from damage. The effect was enhanced by melatonin [5].

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 [19, 20].

Nonetheless, clinical studies have not yet examined the effects of resveratrol on brain health. Thus, this purported benefit remains unproven.

5) May Support Heart Health

Limited evidence suggests that red wine, in moderation, supports heart health. Additional, large-scale studies are needed to determine the specific effects of resveratrol, especially in people with blood pressure and heart problems.

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 [21].

One analysis of 19 studies concluded that drinking 1 – 2 glasses of wine daily (150 – 300 ml) reduces heart disease risk [22].

Interestingly, based on the first study, the 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 [23].

In cells, resveratrol increased the enzyme that makes nitric oxide (NO synthase) [24].

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 risk of atherosclerosis [25].

In cells, resveratrol increases the expression of the PON1 gene, which reduces inflammation and helps detox pesticides and drugs [26].

6) May Balance the Gut Microbiome and Bile Production

Some scientists believe that the gut microbiome can also protect against diseases of the arteries [27].

In one study, resveratrol 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 raised the production of bile acids [27].

According to some, resveratrol may counter lower bile acid production and the weaker ability to eliminate cholesterol in people with heart disease. However, clinical trials are lacking to support such claims [28].

7) Blood Sugar Control

One study suggested that 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 [29].

However, additional clinical studies are lacking. Therefore, existing evidence does not support the use of resveratrol for lowering blood sugar.

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 [29].

Resveratrol lowered blood sugars in 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 [30].

Scientists have yet to explore resveratrol’s effects on insulin resistance and diabetes in humans.

8) May Combat Obesity

No clinical evidence supports the use of resveratrol in people who struggle with obesity. The existing animal research should guide future human studies.

In mice fed a high-fat diet, resveratrol reduced oxidative stress and prevented the death of protective immune cells called Tregs [31].

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) [32, 33].

Additionally, resveratrol may boost weight loss by blocking several key fat-creating enzymes (called fatty acid synthase, lipoprotein lipase, and hormone-sensitive lipase) [32].

9) Bone Health

This purported benefit remains unproven.

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 [34].

According to some, resveratrol may synergize with Vitamin D and vitamin K2 to protect the bones and increase their mineralization [35].

10) Cancer Prevention Research

The effects of resveratrol on cancer prevention in humans are unknown.

Scientists are investigating resveratrol for its potential to prevent cancer, especially liver cancer and some other cancer cell types [36, 37, 38].

In mice, resveratrol applied to the skin before UVB exposure prevented skin cancers. Given orally, it was active against esophageal cancer in rats [39, 40].

Since resveratrol is an antioxidant phytoestrogen, some scientists are investigating its effects on breast cancer. In cells, 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+) [41, 42].

In animal studies, resveratrol prevented and reduced the growth of breast cancer. Clinical studies have not yet determined its efficacy and safety in breast cancer patients [41].

Aside from its hormonal effects, scientists are wondering whether resveratrol can regulate another cancer enzyme called topoisomerase II. In cells from a deadly brain tumor (glioblastoma), resveratrol blocked the activity of this cancer enzyme, which should guide further research efforts [43].

11) Liver Health

Researchers are investigating the effects of resveratrol on liver disease and 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. Clinical trials are needed [44, 45, 8].

12) Muscle Growth

According to some unproven theories, resveratrol may 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 [46].

In another study, resveratrol supplementation enhanced the exercise training response, upper muscle strength, and aerobic performance in rats [47].

Scientists are questioning if its effects stem from epigenetic changes like activating fat- and sugar-burning sirtuins (SIRT1) and other molecules that heighten energy levels (AMPK and PGC-a). Future studies might give us some answers [47].

13) 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. These effects remain completely unproven in humans, though [48].

14) Hearing Loss

Scientists found that 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 [49].

In a different rat study, resveratrol prevented ear damage from the toxic chemotherapy drug cisplatin [50].

Clinical research is needed.

15) Effect on Sex Hormones

According to one research team, resveratrol may help balance the response to estrogen, which affects reproductive health in both men and women.

In male rats, resveratrol increased testosterone and sperm count without any adverse effects. Scientists think it may activate the HPG – hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal – axis that controls sex hormone release from the hypothalamus via the pituitary in the brain [51].

In women, resveratrol may act in a somewhat different 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 may lower the risk of breast cancer [52].

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. More human studies are needed [53, 54].

16) May Help with 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) [55].

17) May Help Fight Infections

Antiviral Activity

Resveratrol has some virus-fighting action, according to cell-based or animal studies. It was effective against:

  • The herpes virus infection in ducks and geese as well as in cells [56, 57]
  • Viruses that cause both oral herpes (HSV-1) and genital herpes (HSV-2) [58]
  • The Influenza virus, which causes the common cold [58]
  • The Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis (“the kissing disease”) [58]
  • Viruses that cause lung infections (the Respiratory Syncytial virus) in mice and in cells (Human meta pneumonia and Human rhinovirus virus) [58]
    • Its effect on lung infections is enhanced in combination with quercetin [57]
  • HIV-1 in synergism with the anti-HIV drug decitabine [57]
  • The virus that causes chickenpox (Varicella zoster) [57]
  • Viruses linked to gut infections (Enterovirus 71) [57]
  • The African swine fever virus [57]

However, clinical studies are lacking and the effects of resveratrol on viral infections in humans remains unknown.

Antifungal Activity

Resveratrol was researched against the Candida albicans yeast in a cell-based study [59].

Antibacterial Activity

Resveratrol was active against MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in bacterial samples from infected patients. Scientists are investigating its synergy with luteolin and quercetin. 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 [60]
  • Acne-causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes), for which it can be applied as a gel or cream [61]
  • STD-causing bacteria (Haemophilus ducreyi) [62]
  • Diarrhea-causing bacteria (Arcobacter butzleri and Arcobacter cryaerophilusa) [63]

Clinical research should determine if these flavonoids have the potential to be used as part of complementary approaches in people with certain bacterial infections [64].

18) May Increase Sensitivity to Vitamin D

Resveratrol alone and by SIRT1 activation might increase sensitivity to vitamin D. Resveratrol can activate the vitamin D receptor (VDR), which increases the response to vitamin D and its activity in the body [65, 66].

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 [65].

19) Pain Research

Resveratrol is being researched for reducing 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 [67].

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 [68, 69].

While its oral bioavailability is still unclear, some people suggest that a way to bypass this is to use resveratrol creams locally, applied directly to painful areas such as joints or the back.

Although resveratrol can penetrate the skin, it’s unlikely that the concentrations present in most cosmetic products can have any effect [70].

20) Neurotransmitters Balance

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 – at least theoretically [71].

Resveratrol also blocks MAO (MAO-A and MAO-B), an enzyme that breaks down monoamine neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which is equally important for mood [71].

Neurogenetics & the Warrior Gene (MAO-A)

Resveratrol blocks MAO-A more than MAO-B (in rat brains) [71].

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.

High levels of this enzyme may imply fewer neurotransmitters available in the brain. This is because more neurotransmitters are being broken down at a faster rate.

On the other hand, low levels of this enzyme imply more neurotransmitters.

MAO-A balance is key: you don’t want it to be too high or too low because both situations may have negative effects.

Based on this, some people claim that resveratrol is better-suited for those 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:

MAO-B is similar to MAO-A but plays a more important role in the risk for Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Overactivity of this gene may 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 [71].

21) 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 [72]!

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 [72].

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 scientists are exploring whether reducing mTOR activity may help prevent these diseases while also promoting longevity [73].

Supplementing with Resveratrol

Dosage

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

Clinical data are still limited. The available clinical studies used typical resveratrol doses:

  • The dose of pure resveratrol taken orally varied between 150 – 500 mg/day. For researching weight loss and mimicking the longevity-promoting effects of intermittent fasting, scientists used resveratrol at 150 mg/day for at least 30 days. Higher doses were needed for potential effects on brain circulation and sex hormones [74]
  • Drinking 1 – 2 glasses of wine daily (100 – 300 ml) reduced the risk of heart disease and improved blood vessel health. Alcohol-free wine may be 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. Consult your doctor if you are unsure whether drinking a glass of wine per day is safe for you.

Resveratrol is available in many forms as a supplement for oral use:

  • 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 skincare or topical use. The following are available:

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

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

Normal vs. High Doses

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 animal and cell-based studies, resveratrol consistently triggered hormetic responses, with opposite effects at low (normal) doses and very high (mega) doses [75].

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 [75].

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) [76].

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 [76].

Some ways to potentially increase the bioavailability of resveratrol include [76]:

  • 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) [77]

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 [76].

Synergies

The following resveratrol synergies were explored in studies:

  • Since resveratrol increases SIRT1; taking Niagen NAD+ may additionally boost SIRT1
  • Quercetin for protecting the blood vessels and for fat-burning [78, 79, 80]
  • Resveratrol, Genistein, and Quercetin, which may provide cumulatively similar benefits at cheaper costs [81].
  • 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 may help postmenopausal women maintain healthy bones.
  • Curcumin [82]
  • Melatonin [5]
  • Sulfur-containing bioactive compounds from cruciferous vegetables (such as the glucosinolate Indole-3-carbinol) [83]
  • Grape seed extract [84, 85]

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 [76].

The richest source of resveratrol comes from the red grapes of Spain (1.89 mg per five-ounce glass) [2].

Other Sources

“Itadori tea,” made from Japanese Knotweed, is a great source of resveratrol. Itadori means “well-being” in Japanese. This tea may be 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) [2].

Other food sources of resveratrol include dark chocolate, various berries, soy, and raw or boiled peanuts [76].

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

Resveratrol Safety & Side Effects

Side Effects

Resveratrol taken at up to 500 mg/day was well tolerated in clinical studies on healthy people [86].

High doses of highly bioavailable resveratrol (amounting to 5 g/day) given to cancer patients didn’t cause any serious side effects, but some patients experienced nausea and stomach upset [87, 37].

In Children

Resveratrol should be avoided in children due to the lack of proper safety data.

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 [88]:

  • 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 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 [89].

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 may reduce iron absorption. On the other hand, resveratrol’s effect on iron metabolism may be beneficial in cases of iron overload [90, 91, 92].

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 [93]:

  • 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 John’s Wort, Garlic, and Ginkgo biloba.

Where to Buy Resveratrol

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About the Author

Ana Aleksic

MSc (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.

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