Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds called polyphenols. They are thought to act like antioxidants, protecting the body against damage from oxidative stress that can put you at higher risk for things like cancer and heart disease. Resveratrol is found in red wine, red grape skins, purple grape juice, mulberries, and in smaller amounts in peanuts.
Resveratrol helps prevent insulin resistance, a condition in which the body becomes less sensitive to the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin which can lead to diabetes. Researchers believe that resveratrol activates the SIRT1 gene which protects the body against the effects of obesity and the diseases of aging.
Resveratrol supplements have been linked to many exciting health benefits, including protecting brain function and lowering blood pressure. Resveratrol may accomplish this blood-pressure-lowering effect by helping to produce more nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax.
Resveratrol is generally considered safe - especially at lower dosages. However, since high doses have been shown to stop blood from clotting in test tubes, it is possible it could increase bleeding or bruising when taken with anti-clotting drugs, such as heparin or warfarin, or some pain relievers. Resveratrol might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using resveratrol at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Patients with hormone sensitive conditions such as breast, uterine or ovarian cancer, endometriosis, PCOS or uterine fibroids are advised to avoid resveratrol as it may compound symptoms of excess estrogen.
Resveratrol also blocks some enzymes that help clear certain compounds from the body. That means some medications could build up to unsafe levels. These include certain blood pressure medications, anxiety meds and immunosuppressants.
Therefore, if you currently use medications, then you may want to check with your doctor before trying resveratrol.