The polyphenol resveratrol, which has recently gained attention as a possible aging and disease-preventive compound, could indeed possess an ability to help retard the development of some of the conditions associated with aging in humans, according to a review published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research
In their introductory remarks, Heather Hausenblas of the University of Florida, James Smoliga of Marywood University and Joseph Barr of the University of Pennsylvania note that nearly 4000 studies have been published on the subject of resveratrol and that one study, conducted in 2007, found two-thirds of those who use multiple supplements include resveratrol in their regimen.
"Studies using purified enzymes, cultured cells, and laboratory animals have suggested that resveratrol has antiaging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that might be relevant to chronic diseases and/or longevity in humans," they write. "This review aims to examine the current state of knowledge on the effects of resveratrol on humans and to utilize this information to develop further guidelines for the implementation of human clinical trials."
Although the review included just 15 peer-reviewed human trials involving varying doses of resveratrol, the authors conclude that there is significant evidence of a potential for the compound to prevent disease and improve human health. "We believe the evidence is sufficiently strong to conclude that a single dose of resveratrol is able to induce beneficial physiologic responses, and that either weeks or months of resveratrol supplementation produces physiologic changes that are predictive of improved health, especially in clinical populations with compromised health," they write.
In addition to resveratrol's anti-inflammatory effect, the compound's role as an antioxidant could be partly responsible for its numerous benefits. Antioxidants suppress the formation of free radicals that damage the body's cells and lead to the development of disease. “It’s not so easy to say resveratrol is the main factor,” stated Dr Hausenblas, who is an exercise physiologist at the University of Florida. “It’s one piece of the overall puzzle that reduces the free radicals.”
”We’re all looking for an anti-aging cure in a pill, but it doesn’t exist," she commented. "But what does exist shows promise of lessening many of the scourges and infirmities of old age.”
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