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Raise Your Glass To Resveratrol

Article by Dr. Michael Heim, Tampa Health Center 

In my last blog on caloric restriction and longevity, I mentioned a supplement that produces similar effects in the body without the pain of following a low-calorie diet. That supplement is Resveratrol. As I covered in last month’s blog, research has shown that caloric restriction or intermittent fasting can have an enormous impact on your health and has been shown to increase life span by up to 60% in animal studies. It is believed this result is due to a survival mode which the body reverts to when it goes through periods of time without a readily available fuel source. This survival mode leads to improved fuel efficiency, improved immunity and disease fighting ability. 

Resveratrol is a compound found in many common foods including red wine, grapes, berries, and peanuts. Before you get too excited about the Resveratrol content in wine however, know that you will have to consume a liter of wine to get about 5 mg of this nutrient and that the recommended dosage is 250-300 mg daily. Luckily, Resveratrol is also available as a nutritional supplement. It is believed that Resveratrol simulates caloric restriction and the resulting health and longevity benefits it provides. 

Animal studies have shown a longevity benefit from Resveratrol, even in subjects that were given a high caloric diet, but there is an even greater, synergistic effect when the two are combined (Resveratrol supplement with some sort of caloric restriction protocol as discussed in my blog last month). 

Health benefits of Resveratrol alone or in conjunction with some form of caloric restriction include: lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, decreased inflammation, and weight loss. Other studies have shown inhibition of viral infections as well as many cancers, including three of the most common cancers in the US; prostate, colon and breast cancer. It is also a very powerful antioxidant.. 

My recommendations for supplements start with the basics; a purified, pharmaceutical grade fish oil, a high quality multiple vitamin, and vitamin D3. From there it depends on an individual’s needs. Those needs take into account everything from activity level and mood, to family history and sleep quality. Resveratrol, although having been around for many years as a supplement, falls into sort of new category of supplements that can affect us on a genetic level. 

The most cutting edge of anti-aging medicine is beginning to look at and treat disease and aging at the DNA level by taking supplements that manipulate genetic activity and increase the longevity of our genetic makeup. My point here is that some supplements have immediate impact such as melatonin for sleep or magnesium for constipation. Although there are immediate benefits to be had from Resveratrol, others may take decades to realize. Reducing the degeneration of your DNA will pay dividends down the road in the reduction cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. 

I’ve seen enough research on this supplement to add it to my own daily regimen and think that it may be worthy of adding it to my basic recommendations list. If you are going to add it to yours, make sure you get a pharmaceutical grade supplement that provides trans-resveratrol and take 250 – 300 mg daily. If you are not ready to take that step, make sure your diet is rich in foods that contain this intriguing nutrient. At the very least you have one more reason to enjoy a good glass of red wine with friends, or your favorite doctor. 

Until next time, Stay Healthy and Live Well…. Dr. Mike

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