Everyone likes to stay young and energetic as long as possible. Going beyond good health practices, science is now searching for chemical substances that can increase the lifespan of humans. The drug resveratrol, which has been around since 1939, has captured scientific attention lately with its impressive effects on the lifespan of animals like rats. Encompassing many other benefits like enhancing cardiovascular health and preventing cancer, resveratrol has aroused the hopes of researchers as well as the general public as a great step towards health and longevity.
Resveratrol was first mentioned in a Japanese article, written by Michio Takaoka in 1939. The Harvard University professor David Sinclair is also closely related with the name resveratrol, as he pioneered various experiments regarding its lifespan-enhancing properties. It was originally extracted from the roots of Japanese knotweed, which still remains the primary commercial source. Grapes are also rich in resveratrol; in fact, the French paradox, based on the fact that people drinking red wine are less prone to heart diseases, is believed to be due to the presence of resveratrol in red wine from grapes. Sprouted peanuts are known to contain even higher levels of resveratrol, whereas cocoa powder contains the substance in normal consumption quantities. It’s a natural phenol and a phytoalexin, usually produced by plants for combating harmful pathogens like fungi and bacteria.
As mentioned above, resveratrol has shown promising effects towards life extension of various animals including rats, fruit flies and short-lived fish. However, many of the results accompany a certain degree of uncertainty. While rats with artificially induced issues like cancers and diabetes were known to benefit from resveratrol, the drug had no apparent effects on regular healthy mice. However, resveratrol has been significantly effective against gastrointestinal tract tumors, although it hasn’t shown satisfactory responses towards other types of cancers like leukemia and lung cancer. Meanwhile, it’s also known to safeguard cardiac health and suppress diabetic symptoms. Neuroprotective, antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects have also been observed in resveratrol.
Despite being around for over 80 years, very little is known about resveratrol even by now. Therefore, adverse side effects and potential health risks of the substance are yet to be determined. Nevertheless, drugs containing resveratrol are already being used by various patients. Some of them are known to have suffered from stomach cramping and diarrhea, which is believed to be due to fillers or drug interactions. High dosage of resveratrol can also result in certain problems. Patients using blood thinners like warfarin and aspirin may need to seek medical advice before using resveratrol, while it is not usually recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Resveratrol is mainly available in various forms of supplement medication. The sale of such supplements has greatly increased during recent years following the claims that resveratrol can bring about longevity. Usually they contain 50 to 99 percent of resveratrol, along with other substances like emodin. If further researches succeed in confirming the capability of resveratrol in enhancing human lifespan, there’s no doubt that it would become the most sought drug on the planet.