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Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in the red skin of grapes, red wine, dark chocolate, some berries and the roots of Japanese knotweed. It has many benefits for men, including hormone regulation, protection against prostate cancer, heart health support and longevity.
Men who are looking to boost their own testosterone levels naturally may be interested in resveratrol’s ability to significantly increase testosterone production. You do not want to get caught up in the Low T hype. There are many low testosterone myths and misconceptions, along with many reasons to avoid testosterone therapy.
Staying with natural products that help you manage your hormones is a better choice for your health. Resveratrol helps to bring your testosterone to natural levels by being both a selective estrogen receptor as well as an aromatase inhibitor. This can help with regulating your hormones.
The enzyme aromatase converts androgens into estrogens. By stopping this action, resveratrol can help keep a balance between testosterone and estrogen. A Japanese study discovered that resveratrol inhibits DNA binding of androgen receptors, which explains how resveratrol may help in fighting prostate cancer. Other natural aromatase inhibitors include zinc, catechins (found in green tea), vitamin E and others.
Other resveratrol health benefits include slowing the growth of early cancers, reducing inflammation and protecting the heart. Resveratrol helps prevent damage to blood vessels, prevent blood clots and reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
There are limited studies on resveratrol in humans, as well as several studies performed on animals. For example, research on mice and pigs shows that resveratrol may improve heart function and increase use of insulin, helping protect against diabetes and obesity. These benefits have not been tested in people.
A study at the University of Missouri that looked at resveratrol and various botanical compounds found that resveratrol was effective in inhibiting the growth of both human and mouse prostate cancer cell lines. (Slusarz 2010)
A recent study on longevity showed that dietary sources of resveratrol had no effect on the mortality of seniors living in a wine-drinking region of Italy. (As with all studies that go against decades of research, the media jumped on it and reported the findings without closely looking at the study.)
Whenever you are faced with a recent study that seems to contradict other research, you need to look more closely at the data and how it was collected.
In this particular study, the data do not add up. Here’s why: None of the people in the study took resveratrol supplements. They ate a fairly normal Western diet, with resveratrol coming mainly from wine. The data came from questionnaires filled out by participants. What none of the media coverage mentioned is that the group of seniors that drank the most wine (over 2.6 glasses per day) included three times as many smokers as the other groups that did not drink as much. It is well-established that smoking negates the health benefits and lower mortality rates associated with drinking wine.
The study also had a positive finding that was not covered in the widespread coverage: Researchers found that the people who drank the most wine were half as likely to have mental decline during the nine years the study took place.
But you have to drink a lot of wine in order to get all the health benefits of resveratrol. You really can’t get enough in the recommended two glasses of wine per day. Plus, this can be an expensive way to get a little resveratrol.
You can best get the health benefits of resveratrol through supplements. The amounts in food and wine are not enough to make a significant difference in your health.
Another reason to consider resveratrol supplements: Resveratrol’s health effects last only a short time after drinking wine. A daily supplement can offer you more long-term benefits.
If you are interested in resveratrol for helping with your testosterone production, consider other natural testosterone boosters as well. There are many lifestyle changes you can make for maintaining a normal testosterone level without resorting to the health risks associated with testosterone therapy.
Searing, Linda. Red wine and dark chocolate are supposedly good for you, but resveratrol may not be why. The Washington Post. May 19, 2014.
Slusarz, A. Common Botanical Compounds Inhibit the Hedgehog Signaling Pathway in Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research. 2010; 70(8):3382-2290).