I’ve briefly spoken about the benefits of resveratrol in other articles and blog posts. However, I figured it was time to create a blog post which focuses on this natural polyphenolic compound found in the skin of red grapes (1). There have been many clinical trials involving resveratrol, and what I’m going to do in this post is discuss some of the benefits associated with resveratrol, and include some of these studies.
Conditions Resveratrol Can Help With:
Cardiovascular Disease. It has been known for awhile that resveratrol can potentially play a protective role against cardiovascular disease (CVD). The cardiovascular protective capacities of resveratrol are associated with multiple molecular targets and may lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for atherosclerosis, ischemia/reperfusion, metabolic syndrome, and heart failure (2). Obviously eating a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis are both very important in preventing CVD, but taking resveratrol might also help in this area as well.
Obesity. Resveratrol can help some people with obesity. In 2003, resveratrol was discovered to be a small molecule activator of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), an important molecular target regulating cellular energy metabolism and mitochondrial homeostasis (3). Resveratrol can decrease adipogenesis and viability in maturing preadipocytes (4). Additionally, resveratrol increased lipolysis and reduced lipogenesis in mature adipocytes (4).
I recently wrote an article entitled “The Role of Leptin In Thyroid Health“, which discussed how leptin is connected with obesity. In this article I discussed how the inflammatory component of an autoimmune condition such as Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can cause leptin resistance, which in turn leads to obesity. And as I discussed in the article, taking certain supplements, including resveratrol, can help with the inflammation, and this in turn can play an important role in helping people with obesity.
Cancer. Resveratrol exhibits anticancer properties, as suggested by its ability to suppress the proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells, including lymphoid and myeloid cancers; multiple myeloma; cancers of the breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreas, and thyroid; melanoma; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; ovarian carcinoma; and cervical carcinoma (5). Focusing on thyroid cancer, resveratrol may arrest cell growth in both papillary and follicular thyroid cancer by activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction pathway as well as increase of p53 and its phosphorylation (6). Resveratrol also influences thyroid function by enhancing iodide trapping and, by increasing TSH secretion via activation of sirtuins and the phosphatidylinositol- 4-phosphate 5 kinase γ (PIP5Kγ) pathway, positively affects metabolism (6). This isn’t to suggest that I’d feel comfortable using resveratrol to treat cancer, but it might help to prevent certain types of cancers, including thyroid cancer. Obviously more studies need to be conducted in this area, but the evidence seems promising.
Alzheimer’s Disease. Resveratrol also modulates the pathomechanisms of debilitating neurological disorders, such as strokes, ischemia, and Huntington’s disease (7). Alzheimer’s disease is another neurodegenerative disorder, and there is evidence that resveratrol can help with this condition. Deposition of amyloid-β and tau hyperphosphorylation are cardinal pathologic features of Alzheimer’s disease that lead to the formation of neuronal plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, respectively (8). In animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, resveratrol promotes the non-amyloidogenic cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein, enhances clearance of amyloid beta-peptides, and reduces neuronal damage (9).
Resveratrol can also be beneficial for the health of the liver, as it can help with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (10) (11), and might be protective against hepatocellular carcinoma (12). Resveratrol can also act as a natural aromatase inhibitor (13). There is also evidence that resveratrol has antiviral and antimicrobial activity (14) (15). It also might benefit people with fungal infections (16), although it doesn’t seem to be beneficial against Candida albicans (17) (18). There are numerous other benefits as well with resveratrol.
How Can Resveratrol Help People With Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions?
Chronic activation of something called nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) plays a role in the pathogenesis of different types of autoimmune conditions. This includes Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I frequently talk about how the goal should be to suppress the autoimmune response of the condition, and one of the keys of doing this is by inhibiting NF-kappaB. In order to accomplish this it is important to find out what’s triggering the autoimmune response, and then remove this trigger. Restoring the health of compromised areas of the body can also play an important role in suppressing the autoimmune response.
However, certain supplements can also help with the inhibition of NF-kappaB. And resveratrol is one of those supplements which can help with this (19) (20) (21). Although taking resveratrol alone can be beneficial, combining it with turmeric can be an even more powerful combination. In the article I wrote entitled “Turmeric and Thyroid Health” I discussed how this herb can help with autoimmune conditions.
Although this blog post discussed the benefits of resveratrol, I’m not suggesting that everyone who has Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis should take it. When it comes to the inhibition of NF-kappaB, one could always begin by taking some good quality omega-3 fatty acids, along with gamma-linolenic acid (i.e. borage oil, black currant seed oil). If someone has a vitamin D deficiency then this definitely needs to be addressed. Then if necessary, other nutrients and herbs can be taken to help with the inflammatory process, including resveratrol and/or turmeric.
In summary, resveratrol can help with many different conditions, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and numerous other conditions. Resveratrol can also help with the inflammatory process associated with conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by inhibiting NF-kappaB. Although not everyone with an autoimmune thyroid condition needs to supplement with resveratrol, in some cases it can greatly benefit people with these conditions.