Resveratrol is believed to be responsible for causing what is known as the “French Paradox”, the phenomenon of French people having low rates of heart disease despite their fatty diets. The French, being heavy wine drinkers, are believed to be benefiting from some nutrient in wine or possibly from wine as a whole. It is thought that Resveratrol may be the ingredient in wine that makes it so powerful at improving

Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Resveratrol has also been produced by chemical synthesis and is sold as a nutritional supplement derived primarily from Japanese knotweed. Resveratrol is a polyphenolic phytoalexin. It is a stilbenoid, a derivate of stilbene, and is produced in plants with the help of the enzyme stilbene synthase.

Resveratrol was originally isolated by Takaoka from the roots of white hellebore in 1940, and later, in 1963, from the roots of Japanese knotweed. However, it attracted wider attention only in 1992, when its presence in wine was suggested as the explanation for cardioprotective effects of wine.

The levels of resveratrol found in food varies greatly. Red wine contains between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/L, depending on the grape variety, while white wine has much less — the reason being that red wine is fermented with the skins, allowing the wine to absorb the resveratrol, whereas white wine is fermented after the skin has been removed.

A number of reports have indicated that muscadine grapes may contain high concentrations of resveratrol and that wines produced from these grapes, both red and white, may contain more than 40 mg/L. However, subsequent studies have found little or no resveratrol in different varieties of muscadine grapes. The fruit of the mulberry (esp. the skin) is a source, and sold as a nutritional supplement.

High levels of resveratrol helps fight heart disease and cancer. Resveratrol protects the cells of the breast, skin, colon and pancreas from free radical damage that can lead to cancer. Resveratrol has many anti-viral and anti-infection properties used by plants. Resveratrol has been found to be a promising remedy for ailments as diverse as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, tumors, and even cataracts!

Resveratrol has been shown to increase lifespan in many different species genetically related to humans. Resveratrol seems to evoke the same genetic response as calorie restriction. Resveratrol activate sirtuins, which are sometimes referred to as “longevity genes” in the body. Taking a resveratrol supplement to experience a longer and more youthful life is something most would be capable of doing to capture the health benefits of this amazing nutrient.