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Have yours today!!…..Cheers!

resveratrol-structure

When did you have your glass of wine last?! Well, if it’s not very long back, then give a pat on your back. You have contributed to the upkeep of your health a little!!.. Wondering how? Yes, drinking Wine in moderation is good for you because of something called Resveratrol that the wine has.

 Anatomy of a wine bottle

Essentially wine consists of around 81% of water, 11-15% alcohol and 7% of other content. The other contents can be broadly classified as vitamin contents, mineral contents, Heart healthy nutrient contents and other Chemical Compounds like Sugar,Sulfites,Grape Thumatin-like proteins,Amino Acids,Citric Acid,Gallic Acid,Tartic Acid,Mallic Acid,Succinic Acid,Acetic Acid,Lactic Acid.

Heart healthy nutrients contents contain Oligomeric Proantho –cyanidins(OPC’s), Resveratrol, Flavonoids (Catechins, Quercetin, Anthocyanins), Bioflavonoids, Phenolic Compounds and Tannins

What is Resveratrol,  Exactly?

Resveratrol (3,4′,5-trihydroxystilbene) belongs to a class of polyphenolic compounds called stilbenes[1]. Some types of plants produce resveratrol and other stilbenes in response to stress, injury, fungal infection, or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Resveratrol is a fat-soluble compound that occurs in a trans and a cis configuration. Both cis- and trans-resveratrol also occur as glucosides (bound to a glucose molecule). Resveratrol-3-O-beta-glucoside is called piceid. Scientists became interested in exploring potential health benefits of resveratrol in 1992 when its presence was first reported in red wine, leading to speculation that resveratrol might help explain the “French Paradox”. More recently, reports on the potential for resveratrol to inhibit the development of cancer and extend lifespan in cell culture and animal models have continued to generate scientific interest.

It exists as two structural isomers: cis- (Z) and trans- (E), with the trans-isomer shown in the image. Trans-resveratrol can undergo isomerisation to the cis form when heated or exposed to UV irradiation.

How do they act?

Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that slow down the damaging effects of oxidative stress. When our body cells use oxygen, they produce unstable molecules known as free radicals that have potential to cause damage by attacking healthy cells. Antioxidants reduce their effect by binding together with the free radicals, thus decreasing their destructive power. Besides the commonly known sources of antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and C in vegetables and fruits, antioxidants are also found in polyphenols. Polyphenols can be classified into two main forms: flavonoids and nonflavonoids. Flavonoids are found in foods such as oranges, apples, grape juice, tea, and cocoa. Resveratrol is one of the nonflavonoids that is currently an intriguing topic of research.

Radicals are molecules, atoms or ions that have an unpaired (extra) electron in their outer (electron) shell. Unpaired electrons are highly reactive and play a part in many of many chemical reactions and biological processes. Since these radicals are so reactive, they need to be tightly controlled in biologic environments, because excess radicals can cause damage to living cells. What kind of damage are we talking about? Damage to DNA that can cause mutations that can lead to cancer or damage to the lipid structure of cell membranes.

There are many different radicals, but for the scope of this article, we are just illustrating the role of oxygen radicals or oxygen reactive species. Oxygen usually has two unpaired electrons in the outer shell and that makes oxygen highly susceptible to radical formation.

Oxygen has an important role in energy production in our bodies and oxygen ultimately gets reduced (accepts electrons) to water inside the mitochondria. However, oxygen may form reactive oxygen species anywhere in the body by accepting just 1 electron and thus forming the radical superoxide. The superoxide radical can pick up 1 more unpaired electron and form peroxide (as in hydrogen-peroxide).

Reactive oxygen species are important in a number of biological pathways, such as those produced by phagocytes for the elimination of invading pathogens or produced by cells in the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone. But an excess of reactive oxygen species can be harmful to cells, in particular when these radicals damage cellular membranes (lipid peroxidation). In this process, the radical “attacks” the unsaturated fatty acids that are part of the lipid bi-layer of cell membranes. This can result in membrane rigidity, loss in permeability and diminished activity of membrane-bound enzymes.

Findings[2]

There has been a suggestion from epidemiological data for some time that moderate consumption of red wine is associated with a reduced incidence of mortality and morbidity from coronary heart disease. In vitro and animal work has strongly suggested that resveratrol and other polyphenols found in grapes and wines are at least partially responsible for often-observed anti-platelet aggregating anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.

Red wine has been shown, in some experiments, to be more effective than other alcoholic beverages in decreasing some of the risk factors of coronary heart disease. Compared, in one study, with ethanol, resveratrol had superior anti-platelet-aggregation effects; it was superior in this respect, as well, to catechin, epicatechin, alpha-tocopherol, hydroquinone and butylated hydroxytoluene. Resveratrol also inhibited the synthesis of thromboxane B2 and hydroxy- heptadecatrienoate from arachidonate in a dose-dependent manner.

Other studies, in animals and in vitro, have shown that resveratrol can inhibit the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol and, more recently, that it can reduce smooth-muscle-cell proliferation, believed to be one of the requisites of atherogenesis, by 70-90%, in a dose-dependent pattern. Red wine extract and resveratrol have shown equally significant cardioprotective effects in animal models of myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury.

Additional evidence suggests that resveratrol also has estrogenic effects that may also provide cardiovascular protection. Bearing a structural resemblance to diethylstilbestrol, trans-resveratrol is a phytoestrogen found to have variable degrees of estrogen-receptor agonisms in different test systems.

The clinical data that would confirm or refute the relevance of these findings are largely lacking. In one small, short-term study, 24 healthy human subjects aged 26-45 consumed red wine, white wine, commercial grape juice and the same grape juice fortified with resveratrol over periods of 4 weeks. Results were mixed and conflicting, suggesting some positive benefit from resveratrol while also suggesting lack of activity in other measures related to coronary heart disease. The researchers themselves acknowledged multiple weaknesses in their study design. Further, better-controlled, longer-term studies are needed to determine whether red wine, high-resveratrol grape juice, or resveratrol supplements are efficacious in preventing atherosclerosis or in ameliorating it once it is present.

More preliminary yet are findings of some resveratrol-related anti-cancer and immune-stimulating effects. In a number of mostly in vitro studies, resveratrol has demonstrated an ability to inhibit tumor initiation, promotion and progression. Some of its antiproliferative activity is attributed to its observed ability to inhibit ribonucleotide reductase and DNA synthesis in mammalian cells. It has been shown to induce apoptotic cell death in human leukemia cell lines, as well as in some breast carcinoma cells.

Its antiestrogenic activity is also believed to play a role in its inhibition of human breast cancer cells in vitro. A partial estrogen-receptor agonist itself, resveratrol is believed by some researchers to be an estrogen-receptor antagonist in the presence of estrogen, resulting in breast cancer inhibition. Finally, resveratrol has recently shown activity against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 in a dose-dependent manner. It appears to disrupt a critical early event in the viral reproduction cycle. More research is needed.

Where Can We Find Natural Sources of Resveratrol?

Berries have a smaller quantity of resveratrol content in them. Cranberries and blueberries have a larger proportion when compared with other fruits. A proper diet is highly recommended to stay healthy. This diet must contain all the essential ingredients and nutrients that are important to have a healthy life style. Peanuts are a good source and one must remember that once fruits are heated, the amount of resveratrol gets reduced drastically.

Red wine grapes are fermented for a longer period when compared with white wines. This substance is rich in anti-oxidizing agents which may have certain anti-aging benefits along with cardiovascular potentials. Resveratrol is said to be best absorbed via the walls of our mouths, also known as, buccal delivery.  Some people choose to hold red wine in their mouth for a few seconds prior to swallowing.  The same can be said for those who take resveratrol supplements orally. This property of absorbance makes it one of the best resources of resveratrol and can lead to extra ordinary health benefits.

So next time you gulp your sip of wine, remember to hold it for some time in your mouth…..to absorb RESVERATROL and say cheers for staying healthy!!!


[1] http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/resveratrol/

[2] http://www.health-report.co.uk/resveratrol.htm

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