Everyone has probably heard of this substance. Resveratrol continues to arouse excitement and hope, although today few scientists believe that it is responsible for the “French paradox,” that is, the hypothesis that drinking wine rich in this antioxidant prolongs the lives of the people there. They get sick much less often than their diet would indicate, hence the “paradox,” but the causes are much more complex.

The cost is quite high, so one should consider whether the benefits justify the purchase and regular intake of the supplement. However, should one decide to do so, please pay attention to whether the packaging states the actual content of resveratrol or, for example, “dried grape skins” or another “source.” Also keep in mind that, as a rule, in studies where its positive effects have been demonstrated, very high doses have been used, far beyond the reach of the average person’s pocket. 100 mg per day should be an amount sufficient to achieve a satisfactory effect. This will be tens or hundreds of times more than can be supplied with food.

It is not entirely clear whether it protects against cancer. Studies give conflicting results, in some it appears that there is some protective effect, in others it is nil, even using doses equivalent to a person eating several packages of the substance a day.

It has been suspected that it may be responsible for a reduction in heart disease in countries that drink a lot of red wine, made from grapes. Unfortunately, there are no good studies to back this up, and most of the studies conducted so far have been canceled after it was discovered that the scientist conducting them was making up the results for himself. To make matters worse, in one study this substance cancelled out the positive effect of exercise on blood parameters, suggesting that it may have even done harm. Nevertheless, in animal tests, the anti-atherosclerotic effect of resveratrol was strong and pronounced:

There is much evidence that its regular use can significantly reduce the risk of degenerative diseases of the nervous system, especially Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Finally, of course, there are studies on longevity in animals. These have yielded conflicting results. For example, in one, doses of 300 to 1,200 mg per kg of body weight had no effect. In another, doses on the order of 1 gram per kg of body weight extended life by 22%. Note that due to differences in metabolism, the appropriate doses for humans would be much lower, but it goes on to say that the cost of supplementation with amounts on the order of 5 grams of resveratrol per day is simply colossal compared to the content in supplements. The hype around it came from the results of studies on insects and fish, to which it actually prolonged life, but the more advanced the organism, the smaller the effect.

Bottom line: resveratrol seems to have a slight anti-cancer and anti-atherosclerotic effect, but its importance in extending life is highly overrated. Maybe future studies will show something interesting, but for now there is nothing to get excited about.