Resveratrol (3,4′-Dihydroxy-1,5-benzoxazin-6(11),10a) is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in grapes, red wine and other foods. Its chemical structure resembles that of the neurotransmitter dopamine but with one or two additional phenolic ring groups.  It was first isolated from grape skins by French chemist Jean Baptiste Louis Charpentier in 1883.  It was later identified as a natural product of plants that contain it. 
The most common form of resveratrol is called ‘red wine’ because it contains the compound 3,4′-dihydroxyphenylalanine (also known as DOPA). Other forms include ‘white wine’, ‘sweet wines’, ‘dry wines’ and ‘black wine’. 
It is not clear how resveratrol affects human health. However, some evidence suggests that it may have anti-aging properties.  There are several studies showing its benefits for cardiovascular disease prevention and cancer protection. A few studies suggest that it might reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Some research shows that resveratrol might lower the risk of diabetes mellitus.
Other studies suggest that it might protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It has also been shown to activate sirtuins, which extend the life span of yeast, nematodes, fruit flies and mice. While this finding has been controversial in mammals, it has not been disputed that sirtuins play a role in the life extending effects of caloric restriction in mammals. The effect of resveratrol on sirtuin activation in mammals has not been firmly established.
The role of resveratrol in human health is not yet established. Furthermore, it is likely that the effects of resveratrol are influenced by many factors including genetics, environment, gender, diet and other factors.
The following sections explore some of the evidence surrounding the use of resveratrol as a potential health supplement.
Some studies have shown that resveratrol might activate a class of enzymes called sirtuins. These enzymes are involved in modulating the life span of various species, including yeast, nematodes, fruit flies and mice.  There is evidence indicating that resveratrol can increase the life span of some animals, but these studies are not conclusive. For example, resveratrol does not increase the life span of primates, including humans.
A major side effect of resveratrol in animal studies is that it causes non-cancerous tumors (known as benign tumors). These tumors are caused by an increase in a process known as “cellular stress”. In large quantities, resveratrol supplements have been shown to promote the growth of tumors in rats and mice. It is not known whether this would also be the case in humans.
1 Sources And Structure
Resveratrol is a natural phenol compound that is found in several plants including the Japanese Knotweed (a plant that has earned the nickname of Resveratrol), the horse chestnut, and the root of the Transylvanian Rose. It can also be produced by certain fungi such as strains of Saccharomyces (a genus of yeast).
Resveratrol is most well known for its presence in the skin of red grapes and red wine, though the concentrations found in red wine (especially when freshly made) are much lower than those found in red grapes or Japanese Knotweed.
The following chart provides a list of foods with the highest concentrations of Resveratrol (data taken from USDA nutrient database).
Food Serving Size Resveratrol (mg) Red Grape Skin 1 cup 899 Muscadine Grape 1 cup 777 Red Wine 1 cup 72.2 Red Wine 1 fl oz 4.3 Japanese Knotweed 1 oz 300
Sources & references used in this article:
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Resveratrol blunts the positive effects of exercise training on cardiovascular health in aged men by L Gliemann, JF Schmidt, J Olesen… – The Journal of …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library
Resveratrol and exercise by SB Baltaci, R Mogulkoc… – Biomedical reports, 2016 – spandidos-publications.com
Impact of resveratrol on exercise performance: a review by M Wiciński, K Leis, P Szyperski, MM Węclewicz… – Science & Sports, 2018 – Elsevier
Resveratrol protects against physical fatigue and improves exercise performance in mice by RE Wu, WC Huang, CC Liao, YK Chang, NW Kan… – Molecules, 2013 – mdpi.com
SIRT1 takes a backseat to AMPK in the regulation of insulin sensitivity by resveratrol by MD Fullerton, GR Steinberg – Diabetes, 2010 – Am Diabetes Assoc
Calorie restriction-like effects of 30 days of resveratrol supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans by S Timmers, E Konings, L Bilet, RH Houtkooper… – Cell metabolism, 2011 – Elsevier
Effects of resveratrol alone or in combination with piperine on cerebral blood flow parameters and cognitive performance in human subjects: a randomised, double … by EL Wightman, JL Reay, CF Haskell… – British Journal of …, 2014 – cambridge.org
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