Here's what you need to know...
- Resveratrol isn't just a health supplement. Evidence suggests it raises Testosterone while preventing the aromatization of T to estrogen.
- Resveratrol is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and may even increase fat burning while preventing muscle catabolism.
- Resveratrol is considered very safe, with no known severe side effects.
Resveratrol, a natural phenol commonly found in red wine and cocoa, is a potent antioxidant that reportedly can increase life span, prevent cancer, and protect against heart disease, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
However, some recent findings will be of special interest to men, especially lifters. Resveratrol has been found to be more than an antioxidant – it's considered a performance-enhancement supplement. Resveratrol acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and may also increase Testosterone levels while reducing estrogen.
These benefits make resveratrol an excellent supplement for those looking for improved body composition and overall health. But does the scientific evidence support the resveratrol hype?
Resveratrol and Inflammation
While there's debate surrounding the exact role of inflammation in muscle growth, one thing is for certain: excessive inflammation results in muscle degradation, pain, and serious metabolic issues. Managing inflammation and promoting a more anti-inflammatory environment is beneficial for health and muscle growth.
Specific to its anti-inflammatory properties, resveratrol has been shown to reduce a major inflammatory pathway, Nf-KB. While this makes resveratrol a potentially helpful supplement for recovery purposes, long-term suppression of the inflammatory response could blunt muscle growth.
However, the mechanism through which resveratrol acts suggests it would be difficult for an individual to consume enough of it to blunt hypertrophic signaling in muscle. In fact, research has shown that resveratrol lessens excess exercise induced muscle damage and promotes exercise induced muscle repair.
Resveratrol and the Testosterone/Estrogen Battle
Testosterone is the king of anabolic hormones. In men, Testosterone promotes muscle growth, bone health, and improves your overall health and wellbeing.
Conversely, estrogen and estradiol increase body fat, reduce muscle mass and strength, and can turn even King Leonidas into a weak, pudgy, "mandropaused" middle-aged man.
Recently, resveratrol has been investigated for its ability to raise Testosterone and reduce both estrogen and estradiol. Resveratrol supplementation has been shown to increase blood Testosterone levels 51.6% in animals. While the dosage was quite high - the equivalent of 4 grams for a 175-pound male - resveratrol's Testosterone-raising potential is still very intriguing.
Furthermore, resveratrol has been shown to be an effective aromatase inhibitor, reducing the conversion of Testosterone to estrogen. New evidence clearly demonstrates a decreased estrogen level in cells after the administration of resveratrol.
From this, we can presume that resveratrol may be an effective way to improve Testosterone levels while preventing aromatization to estrogen.
Resveratrol: Hypertrophy and Body Composition
For those always on the watch for new ways to build muscle and burn fat, you should consider adding resveratrol to your daily supplement regimen. Not only does research show that resveratrol may prevent muscle catabolism, it may also increase basal metabolic rate through enhanced skeletal-muscle fat oxidation. This suggests a potential fat-burning effect.
Furthermore, resveratrol might also make you stronger, as it's been shown to improve muscle force by increasing twitch and tetany in skeletal muscle.
Resveratrol may even play a role in controlling the type of hypertrophy that occurs as it's been shown to prevent pathological hypertrophy in the heart. However, it's pertinent to note that all evidence supporting this has been found in rodents and not tested or proven in humans.
Safety and Dosage
Currently, there's no evidence suggesting physiological doses of resveratrol to be harmful in any way. That said, as with all supplements, it is possible that excessive intake may reduce beneficial training adaptations.
Furthermore, there's some speculation resveratrol may interact with Coumadin, so individuals on blood thinners should consult a physician before using resveratrol.
The typical human dose for resveratrol is around 250 to 600 milligrams per day.
The evidence suggests resveratrol reduces inflammation, improves Testosterone levels, reduces estrogen and estradiol, is cardio-protective, and may increase fat oxidation. In short, resveratrol promotes a healthy, lean, Testosterone-producing metabolism.
While the majority of the evidence is from animal and cell studies, there's substantial anecdotal human evidence to support its efficacy. Given that it's safe and that there's no known severe side effects, resveratrol is a supplement to consider taking.
- Yun Wang, Kai Woo Lee, Franky L. Chan, Shiuan Chen,& Lai K. Leung.The Red Wine Polyphenol Resveratrol Displays Bilevel Inhibition on Aromatase in Breast Cancer Cells Toxicol. Sci. (July 2006) 92 (1): 71-77
- Bhat KP, Lantvit D, Christov K, Mehta RG, Moon RC, Pezzuto JM..Estrogenic and antiestrogenic properties of resveratrol in mammary tumor models. Cancer Res. 2001 Oct 15;61(20):7456-63
- Chan AY, Dolinsky VW, Soltys CL, Viollet B, Baksh S, Light PE, Dyck JR. Resveratrol inhibits cardiac hypertrophy via AMP-activated protein kinase and Akt. J Biol Chem. 2008 Aug 29; 283(35):24194-201. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M802869200. Epub 2008 Jun 18.
- Dolinsky, Kelvin E. Jones, Robinder S. Sidhu, Mark Haykowsky, Michael P. Czubryt, Tessa Gordon and Jason R. B. Dyck, Vernon W. Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats
- Lagouge M, Argmann C, Gerhart-Hines Z ,Meziane H, Lerin C, Daussin F, Messadeq N, Milne, J, Lambert P, Elliott P, Geny B, Laakso M, Puigserver P, Auwerx J. Resveratrol improves Mitochondrial function and protects against metabolic disease by activating SIRT1and PGC-1alpha. Cell 127, 1109
- Guo Gang, Zhao Hai-yan, Song Ji-rui. Effects of resveratrol on the repair of skeletal muscle microdamage after eccentric exercise.
- Sunhee Shin, Jeong Hee Jeon, Dongsun Park, Min-Jung Jang, Jae Hong Choi, Bong-Ho Choi, Seong Soo Joo, Sang-Seop Nahm. trans-Resveratrol Relaxes the Corpus Cavernosum Ex Vivo and Enhances Testosterone Levels and Sperm Quality In Vivo. Arch Pharm Res Vol 31, No 1, 83-87, 2008