Resveratrol influences gene expression and has shown to provide anti-aging benefits. Mitochondrial oxidative stress and consequential free radical reactions contribute to the advanced aging of cells. Conversely, longevity is associated with resistance to oxidative stress.
Some of these benefits are comparable to caloric restriction, which is known to increase life span. But most people will avoid caloric restriction from such strategies as fasting if they are provided with an alternative way to achieve the same effects. Similar to the protective effects of calorie restriction, resveratrol is thought to offer the anti-aging protection of mitochondria. The anti-aging benefits of resveratrol can be obtained through diet and supplements.
Resveratrol is able to put a temporary hold on the cell cycle by pausing at a stage which allows for DNA repair. As a consequence, a greater number of damaged genes are fixed and fewer mistakes continue to replicate in our cells.
Research from 2003 at Harvard University provided support that cells live longer with resveratrol. The study showed that yeast cells increased in longevity by as much as 70%. Further testing on roundworms and fruit flies yielded similar results. This made resveratrol the first compound to have anti-aging benefits amongst different species. An Italian scientist later researched the effect of resveratrol supplementation on fish in 2006 and found an increased longevity by more than 50%.
Mitochondria are known as cellular “powerhouses” because they generate the power needed to fuel every day metabolic functions within our cells and our entire body. The ability of resveratrol to reduce inflammatory stress on mitochondria has a huge impact on whole-body health. Healthy mitochondria are significantly more efficient and produce fewer free radicals than older mitochondria.
For instance, cancer cells are known to have dysfunctional mitochondrial function. While normal cells derive energy from oxidative phosphorylation, cancer cells cannot. Cancer cells must rely on anaerobic glycolysis for energy production. Addressing the mitochondria which drives the energy production of the cell is key to halt tumor growth and encourage cancer cell death.
Resveratrol has been shown to activate a group of mitochondrial proteins in the sirtuin family, and in particular (SIRT1). Several studies have shown that this sirtuin activation results in an increased level of mitochondria in the body. This plays a big role in energy production, fat and sugar metabolism, and blood sugar stability. With improved blood sugar the body is better able to regulate insulin and other hormones which reduces inflammation and improves fat burning.
Resveratrol lowers systemic inflammation by helping to regulate the nitric oxide cycle. The nitric oxide cycle is responsible for maintaining the health of the immune, nervous, and vascular systems through chemical signaling.
Present in three different forms, nitric oxide is found in our bodies as eNOS (iendothelial nitric oxide), iNOS (inducible nitric oxide) and nNOS (neuronal nitric oxide). Both eNOS and nNOS activity helps regulate the health of the brain and cardiovascular system while also ensuring suppressed iNOS levels. This healthy signaling pathway allows for proper blood flow to the brain through arteries and blood vessels.
However, chronic inflammatory stress increases iNOS signaling and counteracts the activity of eNOS and nNOS signaling. This improper cycle pattern can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular concerns, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Resveratrol impacts this system by inhibiting damage caused by stress, and promotes a normal and healthy nitric oxide cycle. Resveratrol results in improved endothelial performance and blood flow.Resveratrol is linked to the anti-inflammatory benefits associated with reduced risk of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Resveratrol has been shown to suppress nuclear factor Kappa Beta (NF-KB). NF-KB is a master inflammation causing agent that promotes cancerous growth in tissue.
Resveratrol acts on NF-KB by inhibiting its activity as well as allowing for the normal processes of the immune system to trigger cell cell death (apoptosis). The effects of resveratrol to promote apoptosis in cancer cells is so effective that researchers are analyzing the role it may play as a chemotherapeutic agent.
Another cell signaling pathway has been implicated in activating cancer growth in the breasts. Abnormal HRB-beta 1 (Heregulin-Beta1) can activate the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 enzyme and trigger invasive tumor growth.
Resveratrol has been shown to stop this pathway and prevent breast cancer. Evidence from other studies provides support that it may also be linked to the prevention of cancerous pathways in pancreas, skin, liver, colon, prostate, and many other cancer types.
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