Monday, August 4, 2008

Sources of Resveratrol

By Denise Richards

Resveratrol is produced by certain plants to protect them from stress caused by the environment. It is a phytoalexin which is a byproduct of a plant's natural defense mechanism. Resveratrol is found in huge amounts in the skin of grapes and this antioxidant protects the grapes from extreme heat and fungal diseases. It is therefore found abundantly in cooler climates. Wine is understandably one of the largest sources of this powerful antioxidant.

This antioxidant does not allow fungal infections to affect the plant and also protects the plant from heat. Cooler climates can see more of resveratrol as it is here that there are more chances of fungus infecting the plants.

Although it is all at the experimental stage, resveratrol shows a huge potential in the treatment of coronary diseases and cancer. Research is being conducted extensively to find out how best this antioxidant can be used to fight these more common but deadly diseases.

As it has been proved time and again, consumption of wine or alcohol reduces the incidence of coronary diseases. This is true especially in case of red wine. Presence of resveratrol has been linked to this finding. Recent studies have proven that being a very effective antioxidant, resveratrol protects cells from lipid peroxidation.

Due to more fermentation period, red wine is a better source of this antioxidant than the white wine. Apart from grapes, blueberries are another excellent natural source of resveratrol. The Japanese Knotweed contains resveratrol in good quantities.

Resveratrol has found to inhibit formation of free radicals as it is a powerful antioxidant. This proves to be helpful during the initial stages of tumor formation. Resveratrol also shows potential in inhibition of cyclooxygenase - 1. Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme which promotes the formation of pro inflammatory substances by converting arachidonic acid. These substances are the root cause for stimulating the growth of tumor cells.

Resveratrol is also manufactured as diet supplements. It is available in the form of a transdermal patch and in liquid form. The transdermal patch resembles a nicotine patch. This antioxidant is also offered in powdered or tablet form.

Apart from these naturally occurring sources, resveratrol is also produced by companies as diet supplements. These supplements are made in the form of either powders or tablets and are derived from the natural sources like skins of grapes, seeds of grapes, Japanese knotweed, red wine, etc.

It is also not advisable to consume red wine in big quantities in a bid to prevent heart diseases and cancer. This will inevitably lead to other conditions like liver damage. It is prudent to wait for any outcome from research in the form of licensed drugs. Information and updates on resveratrol can be found on the internet.

There is no harm however in taking natural grapes, peanuts, blueberries and such known to contain resveratrol in reasonable quantities rather than taking supplements that contain resveratrol, or in powder and patch forms.

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