A review published in the September, 2009 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research summarizes the health-promoting effects of resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found in red grapes, wine, and other plant foods.
*The Well, October 2010:
Oddly the authors of this review do not mention the [by far] superior source of resveratrol - the invasive weed, 'Japanese Knotweed' [Polygonum cuspidatum].
When it began to take over the area behind our house years ago, we fought with no success to kill it. Little did I know then that its roots contained THE greatest amounts of resveratrol of any plant.
Japanese Knotweed is one of the ingredients in our 'SpiroTrete' Lyme disease herbal formula. I intend now to add the 'J.K.' itself to our shelves, so ask us, if you're interested. - Linda
University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences associate professor Lindsay Brown and colleagues conclude that resveratrol may help protect against a wide array of diseases and conditions. "The breadth of benefits is remarkable – cancer prevention, protection of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more," Dr Brown stated.
"It has long been a question as to how such a simple compound could have these effects but now the puzzle is becoming clearer with the discovery of the pathways, especially the sirtuins, a family of enzymes that regulate the production of cellular components by the nucleus. 'Is resveratrol the only compound with these properties?' This would seem unlikely, with similar effects reported for other components of wine and for other natural products such as curcumin. However, we know much more about resveratrol relative to these other compounds."
Red wine contains a number of active compounds, including flavonols, anthocyanins and phenolic acids, in addition to resveratrol. Wine drinking has been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk and in mortality over a given period of time when consumed in moderation; yet excessive alcohol intake is linked with multiple organ damage and other adverse effects.
"It sounds contradictory that a single compound can benefit the heart by preventing damage to cells, yet prevent cancer by causing cell death," Dr Brown observed. "The most likely explanation for this, still to be rigorously proved in many organs, is that low concentrations activate survival mechanisms of cells while high concentrations turn on the in-built death signals in these cells."
"The key difference is probably the result of activation of the sirtuins in the nucleus. Low activation reverses age-associated changes, while high activation increases the process of apoptosis or programmed cell death to remove cellular debris," Dr Brown added. "Similar changes are seen with low-dose versus high-dose resveratrol: low-dose resveratrol produces cellular protection and reduces damage, while high-dose resveratrol prevents cancers."
"It is a cliché that 'nature is a treasure trove of compounds,' but studies with resveratrol show that this is correct!" Dr Brown enthused. "We need to understand better the vast array of compounds that exist in nature, and determine their potential benefits to health."
And here is a report on another proven benefit of resveratrol, published In July of this year :
ARTICLE: “Resveratrol May Help with Eye Health ”
Source: Abstracted from “Resveratrol Regulates Pathologic Angiogenesis by a Eukaryotic Elongation Factor-2 Kinase-Regulated Pathway” in the July 2010 issue of the American Journal of Pathology
The process of angiogensis (“new blood”) is when the body forms new blood vessels to help with healing and cell reproduction (1). But angiogenesis can spiral out of control and cause “pathologic angiogenesis” such as in the progression of cancer (2) and the onset of heart disease or eye diseases.
Pathologic angiogenesis in the eye leads to blindness, affecting either the back of the eye called the retina (resulting in diabetic retinopathy in the elderly or even blindness in infants) or the part of the eye called the choroid that leads to age-related macular degeneration, which causes vision loss in more than 200,000 people every year (3) and is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment in the world (4).
As a result, finding ways to control angiogenesis is of primary importance in health. While research has found omega-3 fats (5) and vitamin E (6) to help with blood vessel health, a new study in mice (7) has found that resveratrol, a main ingredient in grapes, may help with blood vessel health.
*The Well: Again, it is interesting that medical scientists are apparently completely unaware that the greatest source of resveratrol is contained in Japanese Knotweed. But then, it seems that these can be very 'focused' people!
In the study, researchers found that resveratrol (given doses of 45 mg per kg of bodyweight for 7 days) was able to stop angiogenesis in the eyes of 15 mice that were simulated to be characteristic of eye damage seen during diabetic retinopathy. The induced eye damage was performed on day 8 of the study. Specifically, resveratrol increased activity of a protein called Sirt1 which is thought to play a number of important roles that include blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity (two core causes of diabetes), fat metabolism (8, 9, 10) and even eliciting effects in cells similar to that seen with calorie restrictive diets (11).
For the researchers, “These properties of resveratrol…could be potentially exploited to treat [eye] disorders…that have abnormal angiogenesis as a central feature of disease [progression].”
1. “Understanding Angiogensis” - http://www.angio.org/ua.php
2. “Understanding Cancer: Angiogenesis” posted on the National Cancer Institute website www.cancer.gov/Templates/doc.aspx?viewid=F6C397B6-8C9C-4F7D-BF33-ABF75B7181A0
3. National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America. Vision Problems in the US: Prevalence of Adult Vision Impairment and Age-Related Eye Disease in America. Schaumburg, Ill: Prevent Blindness America; 2002
4. National Advisory Eye Council. Vision Research—A National Plan: 1999-2003, Vol. 1. A Report of the National Advisory Eye Council. Bethesda, Md: National Institutes of Health; 1999. NIH publication 98-4120
5. Connor KM. Increased dietary intake of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces pathological retinal angiogenesis. Nature Medicine 2007. Published online: 24 June 2007; | doi:10.1038/nm1591
6. Nakagawa K. In Vivo Angiogenesis Is Suppressed by Unsaturated Vitamin E, Tocotrienol. J. Nutr. 2007 137: 1938-1943
7. Khan AA. Resveratrol Regulates Pathologic Angiogenesis by a Eukaryotic Elongation Factor-2 Kinase-Regulated Pathway. American Journal Of Pathology, 2010; DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090836
8. Baur JA, Sinclair DA: Therapeutic potential of resveratrol: the in vivo evidence. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2006, 5:493-506
9. Howitz KT. Small molecule activators of sirtuins extend Saccharomyces cerevisiae lifespan. Nature 2003, 425:191-196
10. Marambaud P, Zhao H, Davies P: Resveratrol promotes clearance of Alzheimer’s disease amyloid-beta peptides. J Biol Chem 2005, 280:37377-37382
11. Baur JA. Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet. Nature 2006, 444:337-342