Resveratrol is being hailed as the new wonder drug, useful for fighting everything from cancer to lung problems, high cholesterol to diabetes, and most amazingly, this special chemical is being eaten every day around the world without people even being aware. One of the ways resveratrol has been described is as a kind of shield for the brain, protecting it against all kinds of illnesses. This article will examine the claims about resveratrol to find out more about this easily available substance.
The anti-bacterial plant enzyme
Resveratrol is an enzyme that is produced by plants in order to protect themselves from attacks by fungi and bacteria. This natural phytoalexin is found not only in plants but also in every day foods, including grapes, walnuts, peanuts, blueberries, blackberries, oysters and wine, so many of us are ingesting this useful substance without knowing it, possibly boosting our own defences against free radicals and carcinogens, which can cause cancer and other health problems.
There are many studies involving resveratrol, analysing the power of this enzyme, which was first discovered in 1940. Since its discovery there have been a number of attempts to harness its power with creams and lotions being sold claiming to have all of the properties of this substance. The main interest from the beauty world is the anti-aging effects of resveratrol, due to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties which have an anti-aging effect on the body on a cellular level.
Capsules are also being produced for people to ingest resveratrol as a dietary supplement, enabling the properties of the drug to work from within the body. This means that resveratrol can be used by the cells of the body to fight the aging process due to its strong anti-carcinogenic properties, acting as a shield for the brain.
Although this all sounds like wonderful idea – a drug that protects against all illness and is readily available in our food, how realistic is this idea? Resveratrol is certainly an antioxidant, helping activate regulatory genes within plants which protect it against dangerous cell changes which could lead to cancer. It is also an anti-oestrogen, meaning it could be useful in preventing cancer caused by over-active oestrogens.
Experiments on animals have revealed that resveratrol also has cholesterol-reducing properties, which could mean improved cardiovascular health and general physical capacity, increasing mitochondria and lowering blood sugar levels. It has also been proven to have a beneficial effect on the metabolism, which could aid diabetes sufferers, and neuro-protecting properties, which explains the claims that resveratrol acts as a shield for the brain.
Protecting the brain from degenerative illness
All experiments on animals point towards this enzyme being a potenial wonder drug with many capabilities for improving whole body health. However, the drawback is that none of this has as been observed yet in humans. The medical world is waiting for more solid proof that resveratrol can achieve all of these bodily improvements and protections in a human subject.
If all the claims are true for humans as well as for mice, then resveratrol could indeed protect the brain from all kinds of diseases by strengthening brain function through increased blood flow. Oxygen is required by the brain to function and a good blood flow is required to think, have memory function and learn new things. By improving blood flow to the brain, resveratrol can have a marked impact on our brain health.
This phytoalexin could also protect the brain against DNA damage from oxygen depletion in the brain, and fight against the effects of degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. These effects are real possibilities however as yet they have only been observed in a laboratory using large doses of the enzyme. If this were to have an impact on humans in real life conditions, we would need to ingest a much higher dose than is available in regular food.
Although there are many good signs that this could be an important drug for health, the pharmaceutical industry cannot be sure that including the enzyme in its products is beneficial. The resveratrol-related chemicals found in beauty products may not be high enough in concentration to be effective. Assuming the effects can be proven in humans. Also, it is not proven that putting the enzyme on the skin actually works.
We can only wait and watch, to discover if resveratrol really is the wonder drug we all hope for.