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11 Top Health (and Skin) Benefits of Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a powerful plant compound that many people have heard of — mostly in association with grapes and red wine. It has become well-known for promoting heart health, but you may be surprised at the number of other health-boosting benefits resveratrol has.

It supports your body from the inside out (like many plant compounds do) but also has some fantastic anti-aging properties when applied to skin.

Here’s more about resveratrol, the impressive ways it works within your body, and how to start getting more of it.

What Is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a type of plant compound known as a polyphenol. It acts as an antioxidant within your body, protecting against free radical damage and potentially reducing the risk of age-related diseases.

Interestingly, resveratrol is synthesized by plants as a protective compound. It’s known technically as a phytoalexin and is produced in response to “attacks” like UV radiation, fungal pathogens, and physical damage. Perhaps because of this, it also has protective effects within the human body.

So far, resveratrol has been found in about 70 different plant species, including some foods we commonly eat. Grapes have an especially high concentration, and researchers theorize this may be because grape vines are often attacked by fungal pathogens that might stimulate the production of resveratrol.

Of course, this powerful plant compound made the biggest splash in relation to red wine.

Researchers first discovered the potential health benefits of resveratrol by investigating what was dubbed the “French paradox.” This referred to the generally excellent heart health of the French despite a diet high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.

One theory was that their low incidence of heart disease came from the red wine frequently enjoyed with meals. This led to studies on the compounds in red wine, of which resveratrol became the focus, and the rest is history.

Years later, even more benefits have been discovered, and you don’t even have to drink red wine to get them.

Top Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Good for Your Heart

Let’s start with what brought resveratrol into the spotlight in the first place: heart health.

Studies have shown that it has a few significant positive effects on your heart. One of the biggest ones is improving cholesterol levels. It can help to lower total cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and potentially lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Other research has also shown that resveratrol has an “anti-atherosclerotic” effect, which means it may help protect against atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a buildup in your arteries that can eventually cause a rupture or blood clot. It puts major strain on your heart and is unfortunately a very common condition.

Even more studies suggest that resveratrol may be able to lower blood pressure. Humans trials are limited so far, but this could be big news for those who have hypertension (yet another risk factor for heart disease).

Of course, antioxidants in general help to protect heart health by combating oxidative stress. Eating more of them– and particularly resveratrol — is great for your heart as you age.

Protective of Brain Health

The rise of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia have made it very clear that brain health is a key piece of aging well. Your brain is what keeps you present and connected to life but function often declines as you get older.

Resveratrol could be one of the pieces to the puzzle of keeping your brain healthy. It has shown neuroprotective properties, in part because of its antioxidant activity, and may help to slow age-related cognitive decline.

Other research has also discovered that resveratrol may offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Most notably, it was shown to inhibit beta-amyloids, which are protein fragments linked to the development of Alzheimer’s.

May Be Helpful for Diabetes

Some exciting research has shown that resveratrol may have benefits for those with diabetes or prediabetes.

To start with, animal studies have shown that it can improve insulin sensitivity. This is important because resistance to insulin leads to increased blood sugar, which can eventually develop into type 2 diabetes.

There’s also evidence that it may slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy (also called diabetic kidney disease), which is a complication that can occur with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Resveratrol reduces inflammation and oxidative stress as well, which can both put you at a higher risk for diabetes.

Researchers say more studies are needed to determine resveratrol’s full potential for diabetes. However, preliminary clinical trials do show an effectiveness in diabetic patients so far.

Has an Anti-Aging Effect

Antioxidants could well be thought of as the greatest anti-aging compounds we know of. They protect your body from free radicals that can accelerate the aging process and contribute to many chronic diseases.

As a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol contributes its own anti-aging properties within your body. It also has a similar effect for your skin, which we’ll get into later.

But far from being just a generic anti-aging compound, resveratrol likely has some special benefits for longevity. One study found that it may activate a certain gene that helps ward off age-related diseases. Other research has shown that it increases the lifespan of certain animals.

Whether or not this translates to humans is still inconclusive, but it definitely warrants further exploration!

May Ease Arthritis Pain

Many antioxidants (quercetin, for example) have demonstrated a potential to help with pain management. This most likely comes from the ability of antioxidants to lower inflammation and reduce oxidative stress.

Resveratrol is another example of this and has so far shown the most promise for relieving arthritis pain.

One of the biggest symptoms of arthritis is the breakdown of cartilage. This is not only a problem in itself, it’s also responsible for a lot of the pain related to arthritis. Notably, resveratrol (as an injection) was able to significantly decrease cartilage damage in at least one animal study.

Other research indicates that it can reduce joint swelling and tenderness as well as disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers involved in the study even suggested that it should be considered as a therapy to be used alongside conventional treatment.

Anticancer Potential

Fighting cancer is another of the potential benefits of resveratrol. It’s still considered “potential” because only lab and animal studies have been completed so far, but the results are very promising.

To date, resveratrol has shown an ability to fight multiple types of cancer cells: breast, colon, skin, gastric, and prostate. There’s also evidence that it may fight cancer at different stages, including tumor formation and progression.

This could prove to be important because many natural substances, including other antioxidants, can help to protect you from cancer but don’t necessarily fight it once it progresses.

Hopefully, these results can eventually be translated to human cancer treatment.

May Fight Obesity

When studying the effects of resveratrol on diabetes, researchers also discovered that it may be able to help prevent obesity.

Specifically, it helped prevent fat storage in animals (rodents) fed a high-calorie diet and also reduced body weight in already obese animals. This means resveratrol may be useful for losing weight as well as preventing obesity.

Of course, there’s a big jump from animal studies to human benefit, BUT it is worth noting that polyphenols already have a good body of research documenting their benefits for weight loss and obesity prevention. Resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol, seems to be jumping onto this list.

Best Food Sources of Resveratrol

grapes with benefits of resveratrol

Because resveratrol isn’t an essential nutrient, there’s no recommended daily value set for it. Some research suggests that getting low “doses” from food is more beneficial for overall health than taking it in concentrated form, but there’s no conclusive decision yet.

You can’t really get too much resveratrol from food, so feel free to fill up on these top sources to get its health benefits:

  1. Red Grapes– Resveratrol is most abundant in red grapes and is concentrated in the skin.
  2. Grape Juice– Red and purple grape juice are comparable to wine for resveratrol amount.
  3. Red Wine– The fermentation process may improve the availability of resveratrol, but don’t overdo it, since too much alcohol will harm your health.
  4. Raw Cocoa or Dark Chocolate– Cocoa contains about half as much resveratrol as a glass of red wine.

You can also get resveratrol from other plants foods (most notably berries) but in lesser amounts:

  • Lingonberries
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mulberries
  • Bilberries
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Pistachios
  • Peanuts (look for organic as pesticide use is heavy on peanuts)
  • Soy (look for organic or at least non-GMO)

Supplements

In certain cases, you may want to try a more concentrated dose of resveratrol than you could get from food. For example, studies on diabetes have used 100 mg or more of resveratrol, and it would take about 100 glasses of red wine or grape juice to get that much.

One of the best resveratrol sources for supplements is Japanese knotweed. It contains trans-resveratrol, which is a more active form of the compound, and is easily grown without pesticides (it is a weed, after all).

Some research indicates that resveratrol may interact with blood thinners and other medications, but there are no other known side effects.

Of course, another excellent way to “take” resveratrol is through your skin…

Outstanding Benefits of Resveratrol for Skin

Fights Free Radicals

Resveratrol isn’t just good for the inner health of your body. Its antioxidant properties also give it some incredible anti-aging benefits for your skin.

First and foremost, resveratrol helps protect your skin from free radical damage. You may think of free radicals mainly as existing within your body, but they also target and attack skin cells. In fact, free radical formation may be more accelerated on your skin than anywhere else because it’s directly exposed to UV radiation, pollution, etc.

Free radical damage is one of the biggest instigators of skin aging. If your body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to cope with the free radicals, collagen starts to break down and your skin will look prematurely old.

By applying (and consuming) resveratrol, you help your body to neutralize free radicals before they cause harm.

Slows Skin Aging

By working at a cellular level to combat free radical damage, resveratrol has the ability to slow the appearance of skin aging (wrinkles, crow’s feet, under-eye bags, etc.).

Much of this has to do with a very important skin protein called collagen, which you’ve probably heard of. Collagen plays a large role in keeping your skin firm, plump, and wrinkle-free- basically youthful-looking.

One of the ways free radical damage affects your skin is by inducing the enzyme collagenase, which breaks down collagen. By combating free radicals, resveratrol helps slow this process and keeps your skin looking younger for longer.

Other research shows that resveratrol also helps to stimulate collagen production. This gives it even more power for slowing signs of aging!

Protects Your Skin

Your skin is exposed to all kind of stressors from the environment. One of the most notable is UV radiation from the sun, which accelerates skin aging and free radical formation. In fact, too much exposure to UV rays can cause cell damage, DNA damage, and skin cancer.

Antioxidants, including resveratrol, have powerful benefits for protecting against this kind of skin damage.

Studies have shown that resveratrol helps protect your skin at the cellular level from UV damage and slows photoaging in the process. (Photoaging refers to wrinkles, dark spots, etc. that come from UV exposure.)

Resveratrol may even help prevent skin cancer as well!

Hydrates and Brightens

One of the best aspects of resveratrol for your skin is that it has a powerful effect without being harsh. While many conventional anti-aging ingredients dry out skin, resveratrol actually helps to hydrate skin and keeps it from drying out.

It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can make your skin look brighter and decrease the appearance of redness. In a skincare product, it will work to even out your skin tone, improving skin texture in the process.

Resveratrol “Supplement” for Age-Defying Skin

If you want to use the power of resveratrol to make your eyes look brighter and younger, look into the Age-Defying Eye Cream from Purity Woods.

It’s packed full of 100% USDA Certified Organic ingredients, including 20+ pure plant extracts. Resveratrol from smartweed extract is, of course, a star in the cream along with other powerful antioxidant and moisturizing botanicals.

As you know, antioxidants are key for every part of your skin, but they are especially powerful for dull- and tired-looking skin around the eyes. They are paired with carefully chosen moisturizers to keep your delicate skin nourished while the appearance of dark circles, bags, and fine lines fades away.

Learn more about the Age-Defying Eye Cream with resveratrol here and don’t forget to boost your skin and health even more by adding resveratrol-rich foods to your diet!

46 thoughts on “11 Top Health (and Skin) Benefits of Resveratrol”

  1. If you are getting the resveratrol from food including red grapes, make sure you find them organic and preferably seeded and chew the seeds — good for you and it’s free grape seed extract. Same with all grapes, seeded and organic. If people would do this and scream at the places they buy their foods from that’s what they want, they wouldn’t only be selling ridiculous seedLESS fruit like grapes, same goes for watermelon and every other fruit, seeded and organic and chew the seeds.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. Grape plants produce resveratrol to fight off microorganisms. If the plants are sprayed with chemicals, there is no need for them to produce resveratrol. If you’re looking for healthy wine as a source of resveratrol, be sure its organic.

      Reply
  2. Resversatrol stimulates stem cell rejuvenation everywhere in your body, which repairs scare tissue. As a pracitionor you want to use it with other cell rejuvenator to inhances there abilities to repair, without it their less affective, this and magnesium stimulate your enzyme count to a normal range which biologist dont pay attention to, thats why its good for longevity and overall health.
    Anthony perea

    Reply
  3. very informative article, especially about using resveratrol on one’s skin to combat anti-oxidant damage. Thanks for including the foods highest in resveratrol and for suggesting the amount to look for in a supplement, as well as its potency against atheroschlerosis, several types of cancer, and heart disease. Also interesting to know that Japanese knotweed has a purpose, containing a more active form of resveratrol.

    Reply
  4. Very good article, information , of that I had not known completely. Much more to learn, and be aware of, sometimes, I feel some stress, in grocery shopping, to buy or not. Also, prices may be an issue. I the beginning, it was said, a few cents more for Organic, oh really ???
    I am a senior, I have two rescued cats to care for. Some seniors have money, I am not one of them

    Reply
    • Is it possible for you to get to a farmers’ market? It may help to get better produce and the people are amazing. Tell them your situation.

      Reply
  5. Are there sources of knotweed outside of Japan? Bet USDA inspectors wouldn’t allow tourists to bring it home. And good to know it’s in berries, plums, pomegranate, pnuts & pistachios.

    Reply
    • I live in Western MA, and it is considered an “invasive” plant. Nobody wants to hear about the benefits! They’ll go out and buy resveratrol but get rid of what is growing everywhere around here. Frustrating.

      Reply
      • Hi having looked up the knot weed it seems it can invasively take over and can destroy foundations and paths etc. Grows, literally, like a weed. Meters in a year. And deep deep roots!!!!
        It may be medicinal … but its certainly not a ‘friendly’ garden plant.
        In UK neighbours are suing each other for allowing the pest to invade their properties.

        Reply
        • Hi Meredith and Linda,

          In terms of benefits, knot weed is exceptional. From a gardener’s perspective (and I am an avid gardener), it is not because it can be so invasive. Best bet if you want to cultivate knot weed on your own is to contain it (in pots, highly enclosed spaces in ground, etc., much like mint, which is also healthy but also very invasive).

          Reply
  6. Thank you for supplying additional information of the benefits of resveratrol. I use the supplement already and it is great to note all the extra benefits of which I was not aware of.
    Thank you for this informative (comprehensive) article.
    Johnny

    Reply
  7. Much appreciate the Tone and Content of your dialogues. My doctor recommended taking resversatrol but i was not knowing how this supplement added to the daily regime. Your contribution adds much meanings of taking this supplement and where to find it in the produce section. How does the polyphenol in the above sources measure to that in olive oil? All the best. Shmuel

    Reply
  8. Love YOUR articles and wish you would Only send yours and not the articles of others. They will
    fill up my emails as you do, since I read something by Dr. Perlmutter and had to be sent to
    your website to get the info I needed.(didn’t explain it right, but you know what I mean) I don’t
    have the time and I know you’re trying to help others with good heath advice, but I get anxious
    when I see too many emails from you. Judy

    Reply
  9. I agree with Suzanne (comment on 08/07}, BUT…”seeded” means seeds are removed.
    Your answer, but since it could be misconstrued I wanted to clarify. Your intention was to say that there should still be seeds for their benefits.
    …Perhaps to say “With seeds” would be clearer, so it will relay your real message of strongly preferring the grapes to be red and contain seeds. The Japanese Kyoho grape would totally fit the requirements since they are dark purple AND contain seeds.

    Reply
  10. Excellent article, Brian, as always. Thank you so much. Can you recommend a Reservatol supplement, please? Thank you, Brian, for ALL that you do!

    Reply
  11. Resveratrol is also found in the root of Japanese knotweed which is an invasive plant. I believe there are supplements &/ or tinctures whose main ingredient is from this root. If you have some of this plant growing near by, you can dig deep to get the root to make your own tincture from it…A good way to make use of a nuisance plant- but one that offers medicine even though man folks despise it.

    Reply
  12. Water fast is better. I did 5 times 40 days, last in1999. Or now 82 at least intermediate fasting: eating veggie/fish/egg only ounce a day
    5-7 pm with 2-3 liters of water.
    It made me diabetic/ high blood pressure medicine free. Try it. Shalovemall.

    Reply
  13. Thank you for the detailed research around resveratrol.
    I particularly appreciated the list of food sources containing resveratrol. Yay for dark red and purple fruits, some of which I knew about. But the big surprise for me was pistachios and peanuts!

    Reply
  14. Thank you so much, Brian, and much appreciation for an article that is so timely. Now I can appreciate why the recommendation of 6 oz of red wine daily will help those who are suffering from high cholesterol. I dare say that the use of resveratrol such as wine, raisins, grapes, etc should work simultaneously with moderate exercise in combating such diseases as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and so. Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
    • Be aware…farmers market does not mean organic.
      Many of these farmer markets have been proven to be just standard produce that did not get to the supermarket. Be careful. Grapes are heavily sprayed, as are all berries.

      Reply
  15. What an amazing article. I am trying to grow some of these berries but did not know their full benefits.

    Reply
  16. Years ago the benefits of Resveratrol was a subject on the Dr. Oz show, same great information. At that time I could get large bottle of the juice at Walmart in the cooler section. Does anybody know what happened? It wasn’t long before they didn’t carry it any longer.
    Thanks

    Reply
  17. Thank you for the great article you always learn something new.
    I agree too many emails clog up and we just don’t have time to read or listen to them
    I get too many from many sources but they are all good and appreciate the work and time involved.
    Melanie (UK)

    Reply
  18. Thank you. I learnt a few things I didn’t know.
    I remember 50+ years ago there was a little book called The Grape Diet which stated it was the way to cure cancer and from the testimonials in it it appeared to do so.

    Reply
  19. Yes, I have been using resveritrol (100 mg. per day) for years as a supplement. It is as you have described. Thanks.

    Reply
  20. Thank you very much for the comprehensive article. It was very educational. What I would like to see is that these supplements and organic products be made accessible to the Caribbean as well at reasonable prices.

    Reply
  21. Once again, great article, well-presented, easily understood. Thank you!
    Does anyone know of a good source of information on how to process Japanese Knotweed for a Resveratrol tincture or other form? I’ve some on my land and would love to be able to limit its spread and use it as a supp as well!

    Reply

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