Exactly how resveratrol works isn't yet fully understood. Correlating factors such as metabolism, the chemical interplay of molecules, genetics, exercise, age, dosage, and many others all play a role.
Among resveratrol's most intriguing aspects is how it functions as an antioxidant. Oxidation is a natural chemical process in living tissues that results in a transfer of electrons. When this happens, groups of atoms are formed called "free radicals" that can cause cell damage which in turn provides a pathway for diseases. Antioxidants, however, suppress free radicals. "It's not so easy to say resveratrol is the main factor," Hausenblas said. "It's one piece of the overall puzzle that reduces the free radicals."
The UF study also reveals that resveratrol's contribution to good health promises to be widespread. Various clinical trials, for example, indicate that this polyphenol an antibiotic substance produced by plants as a defense against microorganisms prevents the growth of some cancers in mice, inhibits enzymes that cause inflammation, shrinks tumors and increases blood flow, thus reducing cardiovascular diseases. In many cases, it also extends the life of obese animals. Some evidence also shows that resveratrol could one day be used to help regulate insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients.
Hausenblas and her colleagues think research that explores resveratrol's potential to alleviate human infirmities will become increasingly more important as the nation's 76 million baby boomers undergo the aging process. One trial under way at UF's College of Medicine in the Institute on Aging examines the effect resveratrol may have on the physical and cognitive sk
|Contact: Heather Hausenblas|
University of Florida