Resveratrol is extensively metabolized in the body, with the liver and lungs as the major sites of its metabolism.
Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene) is a stilbenoid, a derivative of stilbene. It exists as two geometric isomers: cis- (Z) and trans- (E), with the trans-isomer shown in the top image. The trans- and cis-resveratrol can be either free or bound to glucose.
One study showed that ultraviolet irradiation to cis-resveratrol induces further photochemical reaction, producing a fluorescent molecule named "Resveratrone".
Trans-resveratrol in the powder form was found to be stable under "accelerated stability" conditions of 75% humidity and 40 °C in the presence of air. The trans isomer is also stabilized by the presence of transport proteins. Resveratrol content also was stable in the skins of grapes and pomace taken after fermentation and stored for a long period.lH- and 13C-NMR data for the four most common forms of resveratrols are reported in literature.
Resveratrol is a phytoalexin, a class of compounds produced by many plants when they are infected by pathogens or physically harmed by cutting, crushing, or ultraviolet radiation.
Plants that synthesize resveratrol include knotweeds, pine trees including Scots pine and Eastern white pine, grape vines, peanut plants, cocoa bushes, and Vaccinium shrubs that produce berries, including blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, cranberries, and bilberries.
The levels of resveratrol found in food varies considerably, even in the same food from season to season and batch to batch.
In a 2007 review of published resveratrol concentrations, the average in red wines is 1.9±1.7 mg trans-resveratrol/L (8.2±7.5 μM), ranging from nondetectable levels to 14.3 mg/l (62.7 μM) trans-resveratrol. Levels of cis-resveratrol follow the same trend as trans-resveratrol.
In general, wines made from grapes of the Pinot noir and St. Laurent varieties showed the highest level of trans-resveratrol, though no wine or region can yet be said to produce wines with significantly higher concentrations than any other wine or region.Champagne and vinegar also contain appreciable levels of resveratrol.
Red wine contains between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/l, depending on the grape variety. White wine has much less because red wine is fermented with the skins, allowing the wine to extract the resveratrol, whereas white wine is fermented after the skin has been removed. The composition of wine is different from that of grapes since the extraction of resveratrol from grapes depends on the duration of the skin contact, and the resveratrol 3-glucosides are in part hydrolysed, yielding both trans- and cis-resveratrol.
Ounce for ounce, peanuts have about 25% as much resveratrol as red wine.Peanuts, especially sprouted peanuts, have a content similar to grapes in a range of 2.3 to 4.5 μg/g before sprouting, and after sprouting, in a range of 11.7 to 25.7 μg/g, depending on peanut cultivar.
Mulberries (especially the skin) are a source of as much as 50 micrograms of resveratrol per gram dry weight.
Sales of resveratrol supplements increased in 2006 after studies on non-humans.
Harvard University scientist and professor David Sinclair co-founded Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, the initial product of which was a resveratrol formulation; Sinclair became known for making statements about resveratrol such as: "(It's) as close to a miraculous molecule as you can find.... One hundred years from now, people will maybe be taking these molecules on a daily basis to prevent heart disease, stroke, and cancer." Most of the anti-aging field was more cautious, especially with regard to what else resveratrol might do in the body and its lack of bioavailability.
Sinclair and others obtained significant news coverage about resveratrol. Sinclair is often quoted and pictured in online ads for resveratrol supplements, many of which implied endorsement of the advertised product even though Sinclair had not endorsed them.
As of 2019, the extensive research on resveratrol in numerous laboratory models of human diseases – conducted over decades – has failed to show any anti-disease effect in randomized controlled trials on humans.
A 2011 systematic review of existing resveratrol research found that there was not enough evidence to demonstrate its effect on longevity or human diseases, nor could there be recommendations for intake beyond the amount normally obtained through dietary sources, estimated as being less than 4 mg/day. Much of the research showing positive effects has been done on animals, with insufficient clinical research on humans. Resveratrol research in animals and humans remains active.
As of 2014[update], the results of studies on laboratory animals or human clinical trials concerning the effects of resveratrol on cancer are inconsistent, even if massive doses of resveratrol are used.
One 2015 review found little evidence for use of resveratrol to treat diabetes. A 2015 meta-analysis found little evidence for an effect of resveratrol on diabetes biomarkers.
Despite considerable in vitro and animal research, there is no evidence that resveratrol taken orally or topically has any effect on human skin. Preliminary studies have been conducted on resveratrol to understand its potential as a therapy for melanoma.
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