The compound called “Resveratrol” is found in grape skins, some berries like blueberries and also peanuts. This has been the subject of dozens of animal studies.


Some of these studies have shown benefits in animals, (mostly mice) ranging from it being anti-aging, preventing heart disease, reducing risk of diabetes and reducing the risk of certain cancers  (but possibly increasing the risk of estrogen sensitive cancers like breast cancer).


The latest sensationalized claim discussed work done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that found that when a liquid solution containing resveratrol was placed on the skin of hairless mice, they were protected when exposed to UV sun rays.


Here is yet another animal claim for this compound that has no support that the same thing happens in humans. Research is littered with literally thousands of studies that worked in animals but failed in humans  This doesn’t mean that resveratrol will not eventually show some success in humans for at least some of the health claims that have been established in animals.


As a matter of fact, a human study just recently completed in Australia, found that blood flow through the brachial artery in humans increased significantly as doses increased from 30 mg per day to 270 mg per day of trans-resveratrol.  The artery opening increased allowing more blood flow, which is referred to as FMD (flow mediated dilation).


This is a good thing, but caution is necessary. This was a very small study and secondly it was sponsored by the manufacturer of the resveratrol.
I applaud manufacturers who sponsor studies on the products they create, but it is necessary to get confirmation of their results from independent researchers, who also study larger groups of people.


So I wouldn’t be rushing out to purchase some new resveratrol containing sun products that will inevitably be developed to put on your skin, until the safety and results of doing so in humans is confirmed.


Regarding taking trans-resveratrol as a dietary supplement, I find there is very little evidence (except possibly for people who have estrogen sensitive cancers or a familial risk of these cancers) that trans-resveratrol will do any harm.


Whether or not it will yield any benefit or be a waste of money, is a question that, at this point, cannot be answered.


Curt Hendrix M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.


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