Resveratrol is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols. These compounds are thought to have antioxidant properties, protecting the body against the kind of damage linked to increased risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, but other sources include peanuts and berries.
Because resveratrol is thought to have so many health benefits, it's not surprising that a number of manufacturers have tried to capitalize by selling resveratrol supplements. Most resveratrol capsules sold in the U.S. contain extracts from the Japanese and Chinese knotweed plant Polygonum cuspidatum. Other resveratrol supplements are made from red wine or red grape extracts.
Ads touting resveratrol supplements on the Internet promise purchasers everything from weight loss to a healthier, longer life. The question is, do resveratrol supplements really deliver on those promises, or are they nothing more than marketing hype?
Resveratrol has gained a lot of attention for its reported antiaging and disease-combating benefits. Early research, mostly done in test tubes and in animals, suggests that resveratrol might help protect the body against a number of diseases, including: