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From COVID-19 To Cancer: James Drake Discusses the Potential Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Resveratrol could be the key to numerous future medical treatments.
Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol that has been suggested to benefit a myriad of health conditions: indeed, a search on the world’s largest medical journal library delivers almost 40,000 results for ‘resveratrol’. The naturally occurring compound can be found in several foods, including berries, peanuts and wine, and although it’s widely claimed to benefit diseases from coronavirus to cancer, there is as-yet no hard evidence to prove the benefits of the supplement.
Given the lack of hard data around resveratrol and lack of regulation, many healthcare professionals are reluctant to officially recommend it to patients, yet it remains popular as a supplementary medicine, not least for its most recent fame as a potential anti-coronavirus agent. Science philanthropist James Drake is a life-long believer in the compound’s health benefits, and believes it is a valuable natural supplement, both in the fight against disease and to maintain healthy aging.
The Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Resveratrol is thought to have many pharmaceutical properties, including antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, neuro-protective and more. While there is scant conclusive data on the exact molecular mechanisms and benefits of resveratrol on human health, there are a multitude studies showing benefit to both animals and humans. Studies have postulated a range of mechanisms of action potentially responsible for the reported benefits of resveratrol, including:
The triggering of a range of antioxidant enzymes, ultimatively leading to reduced oxidative stress
Causing overexpression of the enzyme SIRT1, which is involved in the regulation of metabolism in multiple body tissues
Inhibition of enzymes associated with neurological disorders
As a result, resveratrol has been implicated in health conditions including:
Reducing the risk or level of:
Respiratory viral infections, including COVID-19
High blood pressure
Urinary tract infections
Improving the condition of:
Skin and eye health
The immune system
Here, James Drake explores seven of the major diseases, infections, and conditions that resveratrol has been claimed to relieve or prevent and explores why the chemical compound has so much potential on the medical scene.
Some people who struggle with osteoarthritis value resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory properties and find that supplements can effectively reduce pain. Though the antioxidant doesn’t repair damaged tissue, it is thought that it can help to prevent tissue erosion by inhibiting some cell signalling proteins that are involved in inflammation, therefore reducing articular cartilage breakdown. and serum biomarkers. One recent study found that resveratrol supplements, when taken in combination with meloxicam, can reduce pain and inflammation in patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
Several studies have demonstrated that resveratrol’s antioxidant properties reduce oxidative stress, thereby improving cognitive function, memory, and cerebral blood flow. Oxidative stress is a driver of various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s. James Drake, who funds a series of research studies into neurodegenerative decline, highlights that developing safe drugs to treat neurological disease is a major challenge for the medical sector, but that resveratrol could play a role in neuroprotection because of its antioxidant properties and low toxicity.
Research shows that resveratrol can have an anti-ageing effect on animals, though we don’t yet know for sure whether the effects are the same for humans. To explore this, Alzheimer’s News Today details recent studies into resveratrol’s potential effects on dementias. Though there is no current conclusive evidence for resveratrol’s effectiveness in treating dementia, the chemical compound could become essential to future neurodegenerative treatments as research progresses.
Resveratrol has long been highlighted for its anti-cancer properties, though there are still few evidence-based human studies to support this. Animal research suggests that the chemical compound may stop cancer cells from multiplying, enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and reduce the side effects of radiation. Research suggests that resveratrol could also suppress cell proliferation in human tumour cells and have further therapeutic effects on cancer patients. In particular, a study from the MD Anderson Cancer Center concludes that resveratrol can break down cancer cells in various ways to treat cervical neoplasia.
Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders
Both anecdotal and evidence-based studies have linked resveratrol with improving metabolic conditions and diabetes. For example, one such clinical trial published in 2016 investigated the effect of resveratrol on insulin resistance, glucose and lipid metabolism in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The study found that resveratrol supplementation may benefit patients with the disease, after seeing a marked decrease in cholesterol, glucose and other factors, and an improvement in inclusion resistance. Another study from 2017 examined the effect of resveratrol on artery stiffness in people with diabetes, finding that resveratrol supplementation correlated with a reduction in aortic stiffness in patients with particularly stiff aortas. This effect is attributed to the compound’s role in activating the SIRT1 protein, and therefore slowing the effects of aging.
Respiratory Viral Infections
Many studies into the effectiveness of resveratrol focus on its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial benefits. However, a recent review from the Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of Rome has highlighted resveratrol’s promising antiviral activity against viruses that cause respiratory infections. The study concludes that resveratrol could be key to preventing and treating respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and SARS-CoV-2.
Amongst these respiratory viral infections, COVID-19 is the newest global threat. Over the last year, scientists and medical professionals have been grappling to develop effective coronavirus treatments. However, back in 2017, BioMed Central published a study that analysed resveratrol’s antiviral performance and its ability to protect against MERS-CoV, a viral pathogen that caused the MERS epidemic (and which is similar to the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2). The research team found that resveratrol significantly inhibits the virus and prolonged cellular survival, concluding that the natural polyphenol is a ‘potent anti-MERS agent in vitro’. Given the similarities between the viruses, it’s possible that resveratrol could offer some protection against SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, several research studies are already ongoing in this area.
Taking Resveratrol Supplements
The possible health benefits of resveratrol are seemingly endless, with new studies being published every week on its links with improving a multitude of conditions and diseases. However, it should be noted that resveratrol is as yet unregulated and is not prescribed by medical professional. A large amount of the existing information on resveratrol is based on animal or in vitro studies, rather than evidence-based human trials, so we do not yet know the exact benefits of the supplement, nor whether it causes any significant side effects in humans.
That being said, resveratrol is naturally abundant in food stuffs including berries, peanuts, grapes, and – by extension – red wine. However, the level of resveratrol in these foods is so low that we cannot absorb a therapeutic dose through dietary sources alone. James Drake has taken resveratrol supplements for many years without any known side effects. He highlights that the human body only absorbs around 10% of a supplement, which is why he takes 250 mg capsules. You can buy resveratrol from most reputable health food shops.
About James Drake
James Drake is a science-focused philanthropist who has founded multiple non-profit organisations, including The Drake Foundation and the Drake Calleja Trust. The Drake Foundation funds essential studies into the connection between repetitive head injuries obtained in sports and neurodegenerative decline. It’s hoped that these studies will help to inform safe sporting protocols when it comes to head injuries and accelerate vital knowledge share in the medical space. Since its launch in 2014, The Drake Foundation has invested over £2 million into sports-related concussions research.
Meanwhile, Future Science Group (FSG) is a progressive scientific publisher, curating trusted online, print and in-person resources to serve the scientific and medical communities. Although FSG’s foundation is in cutting-edge, peer-reviewed scientific journals, the Group has expanded over the years to publish digital/virtual hubs and run events, as well as creative services and publishing solutions.
When James isn’t focusing his philanthropic ventures on scientific missions, his other passion lies in the arts. Among his philanthropic projects in music and art is the Drake Calleja Trust, which funds scholarships for talented young classical musicians as they aim to further their musical careers and studies.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes