You’ve probably heard of resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine and grapes that keeps your arteries, immune system, and every cell in your body young.
There are hundreds of studies on resveratrol. They consistently show that it’s an outstanding anti-aging nutrient, capable of fighting disease-causing inflammation, as well as dreaded neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Minimizing inflammation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or cancer. But resveratrol does even more.
Resveratrol has a unique ability to mimic the effects of calorie restriction (CR), which kick-starts your “longevity gene.”
CR has been studied for decades, and has a loyal following of practitioners who are willing to eliminate about one-third of their normal calorie intake in exchange for health benefits.
People on a CR eating plan don’t just eat less. They opt for nutrient dense foods—brown rice, kale, broccoli, and spinach, for example—that provide plenty of nutrition but few calories.
Obviously, CR isn’t for everyone. But animal studies show that this diet does increase lifespan and eliminate many of the chronic ailments associated with aging.
For years now, scientists have been searching for a way to obtain the benefits of CR without the demanding, limited diet.
So far, resveratrol is the closest thing scientists have found to a fountain of youth. According to recent research, it has many of the same benefits as CR, including:
Easier weight loss
Fewer signs of aging
Reduced blood pressure
Lowered blood sugar levels
Decreased heart attack and stroke risk
Shored up immune system
But now researchers are discovering that resveratrol can improve another very important aspect of your health, especially for anyone middle-aged or older.
Memory difficulties are very common among older individuals. They’re also one of the most frightening changes that occur as you age.
Every day, I see a handful of patients who are concerned about being forgetful or “foggy,” and many of them are young!
So I was thrilled to discover new research showing that resveratrol can protect your brain from the type of damage that causes memory problems.
Here’s an example: We know that a high-fat diet damages the blood-brain barrier, the protective shield that prevents your brain cells from being harmed by various toxins and other substances.
And that’s not all. A high-fat diet also kills off a type of cell needed for healthy brain circulation. But resveratrol protected those cells from destruction in a recent animal study.
Now a recently released human study has produced even better results! When older, overweight subjects were given resveratrol supplements for six months, their scores on standard memory tests were significantly better than they had been at the beginning of the study.
Grapes and grape juice (with no added sugar), cranberries, blueberries, and pomegranate supply resveratrol. Unfortunately, you’ll only get a small amount of the nutrient from food or beverages, including wine.
In fact, let’s talk about wine for a minute. The primary reason red wine is considered healthy is because it contains resveratrol. (Since the resveratrol is concentrated in the grape skins, which are removed before making white wine, red wine is the one of the best sources.)
But to get therapeutic levels of resveratrol, you would need to drink about 40 liters of wine—every single day!
However, as I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, even the smallest amount of
alcohol raises your risk of cancer. So while wine may have some health benefits, I think you’ll agree that resveratrol supplements (100 mg once or twice daily) are a better option.