Can resveratrol help prevent cancer?
You’ve heard that red wine can be beneficial to you health, but do you know why? It’s commonly agreed upon that when consumed in moderation, red wine “can have a positive effect on the health of your heart, improve cognitive function, reduce oxidative stress and even normalize blood sugar levels” (source). So what is in red wine that makes it so good for you? Resveratrol.
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a plant compound that is classified as a polyphenol and is found in things like grapes, some berries, raw cacao, peanuts, and yes…red wine.
It’s is considered an antioxidant, which protects your body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happens when there are more free radicals than antioxidants in your body. This then creates cell damage and is often considered the underlying cause of cancer. Which is why resveratrol is also considered an anti-carcinogenic.
The other health benefits include:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Increases life span
- Protects brain cells from damage
- Prevents diabetes complication
- Decreases inflammation
- Eases joint pain
- Suppresses cancer cells
Resveratrol as an Anti-Inflmmatory
Studies show that resveratrol suppresses inflammation. One study gave people 40 milligrams, which they took once a day for six weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that resveratrol suppressed the inflammatory protein, TNF, and other compounds that increase blood vessel inflammation (source).
Now while this is great news to prevent cardiovascular disease (the reduction of inflammation allows for proper blood flow), it can also be considered great news for cancer.
If there is one thing you’ll hear me say over and over again, it’s that chronic inflammation promotes the growth and spread of cancer cells.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Chronic inflammation may be caused by infections that don’t go away, abnormal immune reactions to normal tissues, or conditions such as obesity. Over time, chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer”
Resveratrol and Cancer
“Research has shown that resveratrol has the ability to deeply penetrate the center of a cell’s nucleus, allowing the DNA to repair free radical damage that might otherwise contribute to cancerous growth” (source).
In animal and test-tube studies, resveratrol was shown to fight gastric, colon, skin, breast and prostate cancers.
Researchers have found that resveratrol has the ability to:
- Prevent cancer cells from reproducing and spreading
- Inhibit cancer cell growth
- Promote cell death in cancer cells
“In a study of 20 patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), resveratrol and its metabolites were identified in CRC tissue…Resveratrol also significantly decreased tumor cell proliferation as indicated by Ki-67 staining. Resveratrol was well-tolerated with no treatment-related adverse events” (source).
Resveratrol is also thought to be a natural chemo-sensitizer, which is something than can help with resistance to chemotherapy drugs. Research has also found it to be a radiation- sensitizer because it allows cancer cells to be more susceptible to radiation treatment.
Now, don’t go drinking a bunch of red wine and think it’ll prevent you from getting cancer. You’re better off eating muscadine grapes, cocoa, dark chocolate and peanuts. However, I would strongly recommend taking a supplement instead.
Healthy patients who are trying to prevent cancer should take 20-100 mg per day. Cancer patients should take 100-200 mg.
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