Supplementing With Resveratrol

I am usually very skeptical about taking supplements simply because the majority of them are unproven, and the claims made by the manufacturers are often unreliable. One compound however, resveratrol, seems to have a lot of potential, and a convincing amount of data exists concerning its activity.

resveratrol benefits

Recent Findings Concerning Resveratrol

As a matter of fact, there were 340 articles listed on PubMed within the past year that mention resveratrol. While the name may not be familiar to many people, it has been associated with what is called the “French Paradox”. This is the observation that although the French diet is high in fat, their population has a lower than average rate of heart disease. Here is a summary of recent findings concerning resveratrol:

  1. Found to extend the lifespan of a diverse range of organisms, including a 59% increase in maximum lifespan in a vertebrate fish.
  2. Increases insulin sensitivity in mice.
  3. Improves motor skills in mice.
  4. Increases number of mitochondria in mice resulting in better endurance over controls.
  5. Decreases organ pathology typically associated with high-calorie diets in mice.
  6. Inhibits proliferation of many cancers, including pancreatic, prostate, lung, and lymphatic cancer.
  7. Displays anti-viral activity against herpes simplex, HIV, and influenza virus.

So what’s the catch? Well there is no long-term human data to support this. I have corresponded with people who have taken resveratrol since 2011 with no ill effect, but this is hardly proof against adverse effects. One study actually found that it could stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells, possibly because it has a similar structure to estrogen.

From my own perspective, however, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, and I have decided to begin supplementation with resveratrol. I have actually been taking it for about four weeks now at a dose of 75mg per day. Animal studies seem to report the greatest benefit at around 20mg per kilogram of body weight per day. Mice, however, have higher metabolisms so an adjustment must be made to compensate.

I would like to follow the lead of one of the main resveratrol researchers, David Sinclair at Harvard, who supplements with 500mg a day, but when I emailed him to ask for a reliable source I got no response. Of course I should have expected this because Dr. Sinclair is in the process of starting his own company which is designing new and improved molecules similar to resveratrol.

After considerable research I settled on Nature’s Way for a number of good reasons. First is that they provide a high level of trans-resveratrol. This is the form with the greatest benefit, and has different activity than the cis-resveratrol.

Also, Nature’s Way Synergistic formula has other extracts included, and it has been found that the combined effects are greater than taking each compound individually. There are some other products which look promising, but for now I am being careful to not take the extremely high doses until more info comes out.

By Stuart Colman