Resveratrol…anti-cancer, anti-ageing; need we say more?

Red grapesWhat is it?

Resveratrol has captured the attention of researchers and practitioners alike due to its wide range of applications and has been researched extensively in over 5000 studies. Resveratrol is found in red grapes (and therefore red wine!), and in significant amounts in the Japanese Knotweed plant (Fallopia japonica). Resveratrol demonstrates an amazing array of actions that include cancer defence, anti-ageing, Alzheimer’s protection, anti-inflammatory, blood vessel health, diabetes management and weight control through fat metabolism.


Resveratrol has been shown to activate tumour suppressor genes (such as the BRACA 1 & BRACA 2 breast cancer genes), preventing the spread of cancer. It promotes healthy cell signalling, detoxification and antioxidant support for strong DNA replication. This means that resveratrol is very useful for restoring proper cell regulation. Resveratrol increases the ability of the cell to manufacture antioxidants, particularly glutathione – the king of antioxidants.

Resveratrol has been shown to compliment the action of Tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer, particularly when breast cancer cells have shown resistance. It promotes apoptosis (programmed cell death); this is a cellular process that is disabled in cancer cells and prevents the damaged cell from deactivating and reproducing, promoting the cycle of uncontrolled cell growth. [1]


Resveratrol activates the SIRT1 protein, which is heavily involved in several biological pathways, including those that produce anti-ageing benefits. In recent studies, resveratrol demonstrated an ability to protect the organs against ageing, lengthening the lifespan. Supplementation with resveratrol has also been shown to protect against oxidative damage in the eyes, preventing the formation of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma .

Cardioprotective properties

Studies have shown that resveratrol is able to regulate heart and blood vessel dynamics. These properties reduce blood pressure and protect the lining of blood vessels from oxidative damage which makes them susceptible to a build up of plaque that hardens the arteries over time, a major causative factor in cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis .[2]

Regulation of fat metabolism and anti-diabetic properties

Long term studies on rodents fed an obese diet have produced results that show resveratrol to be effective at increasing survival and showing gene expression that was similar to those fed a standard diet. A separate study also showed that mice given resveratrol while being fed a high fat diet showed decreased body fat content and deposits of adipose tissue. Decreased abdominal fat and an effect similar to calorie restriction was also noted.

Does this mean we can all have a dose of resveratrol and then have McDonald’s for dinner every night? Maybe not, but it does demonstrate that resveratrol consumption supports metabolic benefits to weight and fat control, particularly for those who are currently battling the bulge.

Studies on diabetic rats showed both a rise in the release of insulin from the pancreas and an increase of the insulin sensitivity of cells when treated with resveratrol. [3] In another study, resveratrol was also found to be helpful in healing diabetic foot ulcers.

Resveratrol promotes good health and vitality…

Hormesis is growth, protection and vitality of a living form. Resveratrol is the only substance known that can activate the SIRT1 gene to promote hormesis via DNA stability and gene vigour (calorie restriction is the only other method known to create SIRT1 activation). SIRT1 has strongly been linked to longevity therefore resveratrol has strong implications for healthy ageing (anti-ageing).

When do we use it?

In clinic, resveratrol is found in several of the supplements we prescribe. Research studies have cited that a dose of 70mg/day of resveratrol provides a near-optimal benefit. Phytoregenex is a potent antioxidant and overall regenerative tonic. Ultradetox is a nutritional supplement containing resveratrol that protects cells from oxidative stress, whilst supporting the body’s detoxification and elimination pathways.  It is an excellent supplement to support good health and vitality.

If you would like any further information on either of these products, please talk to us at your next consultation.


[1] Shi, X.P et al. Resveratrol sensitizes tamoxifen in antiestrogen-resistant breast cancer cells with epithelial-mesenchymal transition features. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jul 26;14(8)
[2] Carrizzo. A et al. Resveratrol improves vascular function in patients with hypertension and dyslipidemia by modulating NO metabolism. Hypertension. 2013 Aug;62(2):359-66
[3] Szkudelska. K. Resveratrol, Obesity & Diabetes. European Journal of Pharmacology. European Journal of Pharmacology 635 (2010) 1–8