Biomedical

Can wine and grapes treat cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases?

Resveratrol is a natural phenol, a compound found mainly in the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries and mulberries. It has gained popularity due to its strong antioxidant properties and thus its ability to help prevent disease.

Resveratrol is found naturally in berries and it is produced in those plants as a protective mechanism against pathogens. When consumed by humans it is thought to have antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive properties. Some of its effects are stronger than others but in general it is a very strong and efficient antioxidant if taken properly.

Supplements.

Resveratrol can be taken as a supplement although it is best to get it through your diet. It has been shown that certain concentrations taken orally may end up building up in toxic amounts in the intestine and cause issues. On the other hand most supplements sold will have instructions for a recommended dosage and as long as you stick to that recommendation you will be fine. It is not a dangerous supplement, afterall it is completely natural. It is true that the amount you take through your diet (depending on the specific diet) will be low but still it is very effective even in low amounts.

Cardiovascular disease.

While debated, some studies have suggested than wine drinkers tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people with similar diets who instead drink beer or other drinks. This may be caused due to resveratrols ability to lower cholesterol and to be a Cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitor, thus protecting and reducing damage to the heart and blood vessels.

Antioxidant.

In vivo studies show that resveratrol can effectively lower free radicals and lower LDL. It can also induce the production of superoxide dismutase, thioredoxin, glutathione peroxidase-1, heme oxygenase-1, etc. This makes your cells repair damage better. While other antioxidants like Vitamin C and E may have similar effects on gene expression and the lowering of LDL and free radicals, resveratrol is superior in its effectiveness.

Anti-inflammation.

Resveratrol can decrease expression of VCAM and the NF-κB pathway through the regulation of various inflammatory genes like IL-6 and TNF-α. This can help with many diseases since most are heavily affected by dysregulated inflammatory responses. Another way this helps is with ageing, since many of the diseases that occur later in life are linked to chronic inflammation which in turn causes damage to the body.

Anti-cancer.

In several types of cancers, resveratrol has been shown to help. By stopping cancers proliferative ability, resveratrol can inhibit the growth of tumours. Although some types of cancers like lung cancer are resistant to resveratrol, having such a potent effect on cancer for a supplement is a great feature. It can even stop angiogenesis and induce apoptosis in tumours, thus reducing the risk of it growing further. There are many evidence on this effect and although some studies argue that its effectiveness isn’t that great, again for a supplement it appear really good.

Neuroprotection.

It has been shown to be helpful for Parkinson’s disease patients and alzheimer’s disease patients. It can clear Amyloid-beta particles from neurons and even decrease their production. This has been shown through many studies and there are a few theories on how this could work but some argue on how effective resveratrol could be in treating or preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Overall this seems like a great drug/supplement and it certainly makes you want to replace drinks with wine and eat lots of grapes. But i am more interested in the future drugs that may be developed on those enzymes. Imagine a supplement combining a few of those new superfood proteins that have all those great anticancer antioxidant effects in the right amount/dose. If you could have such an easy way to take such supplements daily maybe we could extend the human healthspan, we could make ourselves live healthier for longer by preventing disease, at least in earlier ages.

I you want to read more i have linked my sources at the end and you can follow Qul Mind for more science and tech news.

Sources: Understanding the Role of Resveratrol in Major Neurological and Lifestyle Diseases: An Insight into Molecular Mechanisms and Druggability
Mechanisms of Resveratrol and Estrogen in Cardioprotective Function

A Self‐Microemulsifying Drug Delivery System to Overcome Intestinal Resveratrol Toxicity and Presystemic Metabolism

Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/alcohol-an-isolated-bunch-of-grapes-cabernet-220142/

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