What is Resveratrol and Can it Really Slow the Aging Process?

resveratrol information and sources

You’ve likely heard about it in the news – resveratrol – the magic anti-aging solution. But what is it? Resveratrol is a compound of molecules that comes from some seed producing plants. Resveratrol is plentiful in the skins and peels of grapes and is found in both white and red wine, but in much greater quantity in the red varieties. The compounds are thought to have antioxidant properties that protect the body against damage.

Multiple studies on mice have shown that resveratrol may have a number of heart-healthy benefits, such as preventing damage to blood vessels, decreasing clots, lowering cholesterol, hindering inflammation and warding off stroke. But some of the most interesting research is focused on its anti-aging potential.

Over the last decade, the science of aging has focused on a group of genes called sirtuins. This group of genes is believed to protect against aging. Scientists have found that resveratrol increases the activity of a specific sirtuin called SIRT1. Mice on resveratrol have twice the endurance and are relatively immune from the effects of aging. In several experiments, lifespan has actually been extended. But still there was skepticism.

Until now – recent research from Harvard Medical School concludes that resveratrol does in fact stimulate proteins, helping to increase the activity of mitochondria (responsible for energy within cells) thereby extending their lives. In a press release, lead study author, David Sinclair, Harvard Medical School professor of genetics, said the study conclusively confirms that resveratrol does provide anti-aging benefits.

“This was the killer experiment,” said Sinclair. “There is no rational alternative explanation other than resveratrol directly activates SIRT1 in cells. Now that we know the exact location on SIRT1 where and how resveratrol works, we can engineer even better molecules that more precisely and effectively trigger the effects of resveratrol.”

Here are four foods that are good sources of resveratrol:

Red Grapes – they don’t have to be fermented (like in wine) to contain this antioxidant. It’s actually found in the skin of red grapes along with other nutrients, such as minerals manganese and potassium and vitamins K, C and B1.

Peanut Butter – it’s great for dipping apples and celery, but it also contains some resveratrol (up to .13 mg per cup). Peanut butter is also a good source of niacin and manganese.

Dark Chocolate – dark chocolate is full of antioxidants including resveratrol. It also contains minerals, such as iron, copper and manganese.  And who doesn’t love chocolate?

Blueberries – they don’t have quite as much resveratrol as grapes, but they are also a great source of other antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese.