Resveratrol and Brain Function

Resveratrol and Brain Function

26th Feb 2024

How Resveratrol Can Improve Your Brian Function

What is Resveratrol and What Does It Do?

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found in some plants, such as grapes, peanuts, berries and knotweed, along with dark chocolate and red wine.

It’s a polyphenol, a plant compound, that comes in two forms, or isomers: cis- and trans-. Trans-isomer is more stable and has been extensively studied due to its potential therapeutic effects. This is why you will often see supplements listed as trans-resveratrol, as it’s the more bioavailable form.

So, what does resveratrol do for the body?

Resveratrol benefits our bodies in many ways. It protects brain function and cognition, lowers cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, maintains blood pressure, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and supports longevity through sirtuin enzyme activation.

Resveratrol has strong antioxidant properties. This means it can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, by actively scavenging reactive oxygen species and reducing oxidative stress in cells. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage DNA and contribute to aging and disease. Resveratrol is also viewed as an anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, anti-obesity and anti-cancer agent! Studies have found trans-resveratrol to have beneficial support in cardiovascular health and healthy aging, too.

Of all these fantastic benefits, let’s focus on brain function!

Does Resveratrol Improve Brain Function?

Resveratrol has also been shown to be a potential neuroprotective agent.

It has specific neuroprotective properties, which may positively affect our cognitive decline. It’s able to act on multiple cellular targets, meaning it has a variety of biological effects, which is particularly useful in older individuals who often have multiple problems with their health.

It also has minimal effect on conventional drugs, which is particularly important as most effective drugs for dementia are often not well tolerated, so they are not great to use in the early stages of the disease.

A pilot study suggested that 90 days of daily 1000mg of a resveratrol supplement could selectively improve psychomotor speed. Another found that long-term resveratrol intake may positively affect brain function.

Does Resveratrol Treatment Increase Brain Volume Loss?

Brain volume loss, otherwise known as brain or cerebral atrophy, is when there is a loss of neurons and connections between neurons. This can occur due to infectious diseases, dementia and cerebral palsy, with treatment requiring managing the underlying disorder. It can cause thinking, memory and everyday performance issues, with a certain extent caused by aging.

Studies have shown that resveratrol treatment can increase brain volume loss, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease, even when taking out participants with weight loss. Keep in mind though, that these findings are not associated with cognitive or functional decline. It’s a bit of a paradox, actually, since resveratrol treatment preserves the integrity of the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer’s disease and may slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

It's thought that this may be due to resveratrol reducing the build-up and toxicity of amyloid-beta in the brain, which can reduce neuroinflammation.

More studies are needed to determine the specifics.

Does Resveratrol Cross the Blood Brain Barrier?

The blood-brain barrier is a cell layer that is highly selective with what can pass through. Water, some gases, nutrients and lipid soluble molecules pass through easily, with neurotoxins kept out. Polyphenols, like resveratrol, can enter the brain only if they can cross the blood-brain barrier.

Resveratrol, since it’s a lipophilic compound, has been found to easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier due to its weight and lipid-soluble properties. Similar-sized flavonoids found in red wine, such as catechin and quercetin, can also easily penetrate.

Why is Resveratrol Good for Sirtuins?

Sirtuins are a protein family of enzymes that are used in many physiological tasks in our bodies, including brain function, metabolism and aging. Mammals have seven sirtuin compounds, SIRT1–SIRT7, with SIRT1 being the most studied. This sirtuin is essential in the prevention and evolution of neuro-disorders.

Resveratrol is a highly studied sirtuin activator that can block pro-inflammatory factors and treatment with resveratrol can help multiple signaling pathway effectors related to programmed cell death, cell survival and synaptic plasticity.

SIRT1 requires and increases NAD+ cell content, which means resveratrol is incredibly important to activate SIRT1 in our bodies.

Resveratrol Side Effects and Dosage

There’s no universal recommended dosage of resveratrol. Clinical trials have found it’s safe to take up to 5g per day of resveratrol, but side effects like stomach cramps, flatulence and nausea are likely to occur with more than 2.5g per day. Experiment with a low dose resveratrol supplement and work your way up as you develop tolerance.

In terms of how to take resveratrol, take it on an empty stomach at night for best absorption.

Speak to your doctor before taking resveratrol supplements as it may worsen certain medical conditions as it may mimic estrogen. Don’t take after surgery to reduce bleeding risks and don’t take if you take medications metabolised by the liver.

Who Should Take Resveratrol?

Is resveratrol right for you?

Both men and women would benefit from taking resveratrol supplements as it’s beneficial for most people, whether you’re corporate workers, business owners or homemakers.

Specifically, if you want to improve immunity or are at risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, you might want to look at taking resveratrol supplements. If you’re working on weight management and cholesterol control or want to improve your focus and cognitive function, resveratrol supplements might be something to add to your stack.

Or, if you simply want to boost your longevity and experience the well-rounded benefits of resveratrol, it’s a great supplement to take.

End Note

As always, speak with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet.

If you want to learn more about the scientific research behind resveratrol’s benefits, Xandro Lab has links to numerous studies on our website.

Looking to start your journey with resveratrol? Try out Xandro Lab’s Trans Resveratrol!

It’s a pure Trans-Resveratrol, without any additives, fillers or binders and is of the highest purity, with over 98 per cent pure trans-resveratrol.