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Resveratrol

If you follow the news, then you have likely heard of Resveratrol, an antioxidant commonly found in red wine, grape skins and other plants.

Many people heard about Resveratrol for the first time on Sunday, January 25, 2009, when the CBS News program 60 Minutes aired a segment on the promising new research surrounding Resveratrol. You can watch this segment by clicking on the link on our Welcome page.

CBS News Correspondent Morley Safer interviews Harvard University researchers Christoph Westphal and David Sinclair, who have been pursuing the genetic link between Resveratrol and enzymes called sirtuins for the past 5 years.Res-Juventa Reserveratrol Complex

Sirtuins are a recently discovered class of enzymes that appear to control the aging process. In this video, Safer, Westphal and Sinclair discuss the incredible results from ongoing research aimed at identifying and isolating the exact component of Resveratrol responsible for these lab results, in an effort to manufacture a pharmaceutical from this naturally-occurring compound.

Previously in "Live to 150...Can You Do It?" an ABC News and Barbara Walters Special (April 1, 2008), Barbara Walters talked to researchers about the stunning research on longevity and Resveratrol. A little over a year earlier, researchers examining Resveratrol made front-page news with their studies showing that Resveratrol increased the life expectancy of lab animals by over 40%! Again, you can see this video by clicking on our link on the Welcome page.

Resveratrol is believed to be the plants' natural defense against adverse growing conditions and fungal attacks. While Resveratrol is commonly found in red wine, it is only available in small amounts and those amounts vary greatly from wine to wine and bottle to bottle but they are the highest in Spanish red wine, as depicted in the following table from Wikipedia.

Beverage

Total resveratrol (mg/L)

Red Wines (Global)

1.98 - 7.13

Red Wines (Spanish)

1.92 - 12.59

Red grape juice (Spanish)

1.14 - 8.69

Rose Wines (Spanish)

0.43 - 3.52

Pinot Noir

0.40 - 2.0

White Wines (Spanish)

0.05 - 1.80

Resveratrol & Longevity:

Resveratrol has also been in the news over the last few years due to the results of several animal studies that found a link between Resveratrol intake and significantly extended life spans. So far those studies have not been conducted on long-lived animals like humans. But the results of the animal studies are impressive to say the least as it also delayed the onset of age-related markers

In short, Resveratrol is one of the many beneficial compounds found in grapes and red wine. Some researchers believe that Resveratrol works by mimicking the effects that one would get from practicing a caloric restriction diet. Calorie restriction is well-established as a method of extending lifespan and reducing diseases associated with aging (at least in laboratory animals). And Resveratrol may work by triggering the same genes that are triggered by a very low calorie diet; however, without the hunger. Finally, Resveratrol is part of the explanation for the oft-noted beneficial effects of red wine.

Resveratrol obtained from red grapes, Japanese knotweed root, and other plant sources, may have a host of beneficial health effects, such as anti aging, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, improved athletic endurance,  life-prolonging effects, and according to a recent report Resveratrol may reverse the dangerous build-up of fat in the liver caused by alcohol abuse. David Sinclair of the Harvard Medical School has found that Resveratrol increases the production of a protein called SIRT1, which may increase human lifespans dramatically. The Harward Study may explain the French Paradox, that Resveratrol in red wine may contribute to the low incidences of coronary heart disease in France, despite the high dietary intake of saturated fats.

Res-Juventa Reserveratrol ComplexWhat Resveratrol can do for you. Calorie restriction (CR) is a dietary regimen thought to improve health and slow the aging process in animals and humans by limiting dietary energy intake. A CR diet is a dietary intervention which has been documented to increase maximum lifespan and eliminate a variety of diseases in rodents, yeast, fish, dogs and monkeys. Researches at Harvard University found that Resveratrol mimics a CR diet in animals and extends their life by 20% - 30%. Just like a CR diet, Resveratrol may reduce or eliminate a variety of ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and joint disease. It may also lead to improved athletic endurance, ease of exercise and extended human lifespan. An obese person on a Resveratrol regimen, may be considered "healthily obese". Recent study by the University of South Florida suggests that Resveratrol may not only prevent but even reverse the dangerous buildup of fat in the liver caused by alcohol abuse.

“Red Wine May Curb Fat Cells.” An article in New York Times, June 17, 2008 reports on a study which cites Red Wine as “weapon against obesity”: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/red-wine-may-curb-fat-cells/

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a compound found in a variety of plants including cranberries, raspberries, peanuts, pine trees, and grapes. The primary dietary sources in an average person’s diet are peanuts, peanut butter, grapes, and wine. The compound is particularly concentrated in red wines, typically the highest levels are found in Spanish red wine. Resveratrol is produced in the grape skin in response to a bacterial infection that affects the plant, thus acting as a natural antibiotic.

Resveratrol is classified as a polyphenol because of its chemical structure. Polyphenols make up a huge group of plant compounds that are further broken down into other classifications such as flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidants. Resveratrol is also a phytoestrogen, a substance that mimics some of the effects of estrogen while blocking others.

In the early ‘90s, scientists finally discovered that it is the secret ingredient found in the traditional Asian heart remedies that contain Polygonum, a plant that is abundant in Resveratrol. These medicines are prescribed for liver and heart conditions. Since then, hundreds of studies have shown that Resveratrol is beneficial to a long list of health concerns. And just recently, a Harvard research team found that Resveratrol improved the health and survival of obese mice.[1]

How does Resveratrol work?

Thousands of animal experiments have demonstrated that Resveratrol has anti-aging benefits, as well as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiplatelet, cholesterol-lowering, and mild estrogenic activities.

There are numerous theories, however, as to how it produces a wide range of health benefits. Harvard researchers have noted there is evidence suggesting that calorie restriction can extend lifespan across a range of species. And after screening thousands of molecules, they found that Resveratrol mimics calorie restriction in yeast: Activating enzymes that slow aging, increasing the stability of DNA, and extending lifespan by as much as 70%.[2] Researchers suspect plants make these age-slowing molecules as a defense response.

Another Harvard research team recently found that Resveratrol improved the health and survival of obese mice. Resveratrol increased insulin levels while decreasing glucose levels, resulting in healthier liver and heart tissue when compared to obese mice that did not receive treatment. "After six months, Resveratrol essentially prevented most of the negative effects of the high-calorie diet in mice," said study co-author Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute of Aging (NIA).[3]

This study is significant because of the obesity epidemic in the United States. Resveratrol may well point the way to a new approach for treating obesity-related disorders and preventing age-related diseases in humans, like cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.

Reservatrol had previously been shown to prevent damage to liver tissue, says Matt Kaeberlein, a pathologist at the University of Washington; the compound could be staving off age-related diseases by keeping the liver healthy. He notes that more work needs to be done to determine if Resveratrol affects other parts of the body as well.

“Even if Resveratrol does turn out to be a miracle drug, a wine glass would probably not be the preferred delivery method. According to Kaeberlein, it would take over 300 glasses of wine per day to equal the amount of Resveratrol fed to the obese mice in this study.”[4]

An earlier study showed that Resveratrol might also extend the lifespan of vertebrate animals. Researchers found that adding Resveratrol to the daily diet of a small fish that naturally age rapidly and typically live only three months, prolonged its lifespan, delayed the onset of age-related problems, and improved cognitive function.

Researchers found that fish fed the lower dose of Resveratrol lived an average of 33% longer than fish fed their normal diets, while those fed the higher dose of Resveratrol lived more than 50% longer. The researchers reported that the findings suggest that Resveratrol is the first compound to consistently prolong the life of several very different animal groups and could become the stepping-stone for creating drugs to prevent age-related diseases in humans.[5]

Why should I take a Resveratrol supplement if I can get it from wine or peanut butter?

Quite frankly, if you drink enough wine or eat enough peanut butter - every day - you probably could get plenty of Resveratrol. But, and that’s a big but (excuse the pun), you’d be consuming so many extra calories that you’d have to spend the entire day exercising in order to not gain weight! And even though wine may be good for you in small doses, alcohol takes a toll on your liver and saps your body of vitamins and minerals. And the worst-case scenario is that it can become addictive.

It’s better in the long run to take a nutritional supplement with a standardized amount of Resveratrol, so you don’t have to worry about loading up on calories or alcohol.

Resveratrol exists in two forms: cis-Resveratrol and trans-Resveratrol. These forms contain the same type and number of atoms, but the orientation of the atoms is slightly different. Cis- and trans-Resveratrol have some biological activities in common while other activities are specific to only one form or the other. Trans-Resveratrol is commercially available and has been the subject of more research than cis-Resveratrol -- although not all research has adequately established or identified the form used.

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