Resveratrol Benefits for Heart Health

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In this article, we will examine the Resveratrol Benefits for Heart Health and how it affects your blood pressure, how it relates to strokes, what is its role in ischemic heart diseases, and much more.

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a natural compound of the category of phytoalexins with a basic structure of stilbene. The richest dietary sources of resveratrol are grapes, red wine, and peanuts. Fresh grape peels contain 50 to 100mg of resveratrol per gram.

In red wine, resveratrol can be found in concentrations of 0.2-5.8mg/L depending on the variety of grapes, while white wine contains resveratrol in smaller quantities, as this type of wine is fermented after removal of the grape peel.

Red wine, resveratrol and the “French paradox”

In 1992, Doctors Renaud and De Lorgeril showed in their research that the French had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to the rest of central European people, despite increased intake of saturated fat in their diets. This phenomenon was dubbed the ‘French Paradox’ and was attributed to the highest level of consumption of red wine in France.

The French Paradox
source: Statista

Resveratrol has been found to exhibit antioxidant, antithrombotic, and anti-inflammatory activity, resulting in protective effects on cardiovascular diseases. However, the effect of resveratrol on the human body is not yet clear, as the evidence for its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health mainly comes from studies in animal models and in vitro research (pre-clinical trials).

Resveratrol and Blood Pressure

Hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Resveratrol appears to exhibit anti-hypertensive properties in animal models with high blood pressure after administration of 10-320 mg/kg body weight for a period of 14 days to 10 weeks.

In addition, the administration of smaller doses of resveratrol (5-10 mg/kg/day) was more effective in reducing blood pressure levels in animal models with diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

A recent meta-analysis of 6 randomized controlled trials with 247 volunteers showed that high doses of resveratrol (≥150mg/day) significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (1).

READ ALSO: Red Wine & Purple Grape Juice Have High Antioxidant Activity [Study]

Resveratrol and Ischemic Strokes?

Resveratrol appears to have a protective effect against ischemic stroke in adult animal models and is associated with better endothelium function.

However, there are currently no clinical trials available that have investigated the effects of resveratrol in patients who have suffered a stroke. However, resveratrol has been found to increase blood flow to the brain in healthy adults (2). Similarly, this natural substance seems to increase brain perfusion in post-menopausal women.

Resveratrol and Atherosclerosis

In animal models, resveratrol helps to reduce the action of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is responsible for producing cholesterol in the body, thereby reducing total LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol (3).

This action may be due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of resveratrol, which prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, as well as its ability to reduce the production of sparkling cells, a group of cells involved in the process of atherosclerosis.

In a meta-analysis that evaluated the effects of resveratrol supplementation on blood lipids, no significant changes in lipid parameters (e.g. total LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides) were observed.

However, some individual studies included in the meta-analysis showed that a small dose of resveratrol (250mg daily for 3 months) was sufficient to significantly reduce total cholesterol, total LDL cholesterol, and oxidized form, as well as levels of apolipoprotein B (which controls cholesterol levels in the body) in patients with type II diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, hypertriglyceridemia, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (4).

READ ALSO: Drinking Wine is More Important Than Exercise to Living Past 90 [Study]

Resveratrol and Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease includes a number of conditions such as stable angina (chest pain), unstable angina, stroke, and heart attack.

In animal models, resveratrol can enhance the regeneration of parts of necrosis or pathological myocardial, through neo-angiogenesis and the creation of cardiac stem cells. Administration of 50 mg/kg body weight/day appears to be effective in the treatment of ischemic heart disease (5).

Clinical trials in which resveratrol administration has had positive effects on stable angina, acute coronary syndromes, and myocardial infarction are minimal. Additional studies suggest that resveratrol may have cardio-protective properties through the increase of adiponectin (a hormone involved in glucose metabolism and determines fat accumulation in the body) and inhibition of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (glycoprotein acting as a pro-thrombotic agent) (6)

Resveratrol and Metabolic Syndrome

Administration of resveratrol at doses of 500 mg 3 times/day appears to improve insulin sensitivity in both obese subjects and patients with metabolic syndrome. In addition, supplementation with resveratrol in a variety of formulas and dosages appears to reduce oxidative stress in patients with metabolic syndrome, while in patients with a high cardiovascular risk profile it exhibits anti-inflammatory action (7).

READ ALSO: New Research Says Drinking Wine Before Bed Makes You Lose Weight

Does resveratrol interact with cardiovascular drugs?

Resveratrol appears to enhance the anti-hypertensive effect of vasodilator drugs as well as the cardio-protective properties of statins.


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