Recent research suggests a relationship between resveratrol and heart disease. Resveratrol is polyphenol and a very promising compound that appears to have wide-spread health benefits. Resveratrol is being extensively studied in heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
The 2010 Resveratrol Conference examined the scientific evidence (nearly 3,700 studies were analyzed) and its summary can be found here. Before going too much farther it’s important to realize that a bulk of the research on resveratrol has been done on laboratory animals. At this point should humans take resveratrol supplements beyond what’s naturally found in foods or not, and if so how much is unknown.
But here’s what we know so far about resveratrol and heart disease.
Resveratrol and Calorie Restriction
First, resveratrol seems to exert its many health benefits through producing biologic effects similar to what we see with calorie restriction. Calorie restriction has been shown to extend life-span in nearly all forms of life. See our post, “Resveratrol Anti Aging”.
Resveratrol and Heart Disease
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces the adverse effects of high blood pressure on endothelial function
- Decreases inflammation of blood vessels walls
- Reduces hardening/stiffening of blood vessels and the heart as the result of high blood pressure
- Regulate expression of genes that control cholesterol metabolism
- Stimulates break down of fat
- Slows down calcium build-up in arteries
- Inhibits blood clot formation
- Reduces oxidative stress following a heart attack
- Lowers body mass index, cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (inflammation marker)
Resveratrol Rich Foods
It certainly seems that resveratrol can positively impact health and heart disease specifically. Until more studies are performed on humans it’s probably wise to eat foods naturally rich in resveratrol before relying on resveratrol supplements.
- Red and purple grapes
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine
In future posts we will go beyond resveratrol and heart disease and look at the effect of resveratrol on cancer and diabetes.
See related articles.