French paradox - ever heard of that? It's a phenomen of reduced mortality in French population due to circulatory system diseases, despiting fat and stodgy diet. Responsible for that is probably red wine, or resveratrol contained in it, to be exact.
Resveratrol is polyphenolic derivative of stilbene, with high antioxidant potency. In highest amounts, we can find it in red grape peel - that's the reason why we can find this substance in red wine. Main function of resveratrol is boosting immune system of plants, its ressistance, and diffrent types of stressors - like UV radiation, or climate changes, what finally allows plant to live longer.
As antioxidant, resveratrol neutralizes harmful free radicals decreasing level of oxidative stress which can be a reason for developing cancer and circulatory system diseases, Resveratrol can strongly act as anti-inflammatory agent in central nervous system, due to ability to cross blood-brain barrier. It has enormous meaning in terms of preventing neurodegenerative processes
Resveratrol positively influences mitochondria functions. In those cells, free radicals are continually produced, and that's the reason why mitochondria diseases are strongly related to aging of organism. It can increase antioxidative activity of mitochondrial enzymes causing lowering a level of free radicals. Studies are being conducted, about induction of mitochondrial biogenesis by resveratrol.In times of developing mitochondrial medicine, discovering new substances, which protect and positively affect functions of those organellas, widens a number of possibilities for treating and prevention hitherto incurable diseases
Furthermore, it was shown, that resveratrol activates enzymatic protein SIRT1, wich is also called "immortality elixir". Belonging to sirtuins, SIRT1 proteins, inhibiting proapoptotic protein p53, are prolonging cells life. They also regulates appetite, which is importiant in preventing diet-related diseases, like obesity and diabetes. Sirtuins also take part in DNA repairing.
It was proven, that resveratrol helps in treating side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for example depression, fatigue, anorexia, insomnia or neuropathic pain. Relating to authors of study, reason for those side effects is disruption of signaling pathways of inflammation. It could explain, why resveratrol has such high efficiency in relieving these symptoms.
Resveratrol dissolves well in alcohol, which affects positively its absorption. But if we want to gain maximum of pro-health properties of resveratrol, we cannot rely just on drinking red wine.
Ethyl alcohol is toxine. Neurotoxic mechanism of ethanol is based on stimulating GABA and NMDA receptors, which can be a reason for brain cells apoptosis. Long-term, and regular drinking of alcohol, is inducing expression of CYp2E1 isoform of cytochrome P-450, mostly in hepatocits, giving out a number of interactions with drugs. Isoform of P-450 cytochrome are responsible for xenobiotics metabolism. Increasing expression of CYP2E1 is cause of faster metabolism, and finally weakening actions of many types of drugs, for example anticoagulants and antidiabetes. At the same time, ethanol is inducing a production of alfa-hydyoxyethyl radicals and increase hepatoxic actions of some xenobiotics.
The most efficiency sources of resveratrol are dietetary supplements, which contains properly high and concentrated dosage of pure bioactive substance, which can be hard to achieve by drinking wine, or eating fruits.