Resveratrol is a type of natural phenol compound called a stilbenoid, a natural antimicrobial and antioxidant made by plants responding to injury or attack by fungi and bacteria. Resveratrol is found in many red fruits, including raspberries, blueberries, mulberries, and the skin of red grapes, and is a natural anti-inflammatory which may help to inhibit the incidence of atherosclerosis and therefore reduce the risks of heart disease.
It has antioxidant properties which can effectively help to neutralise free radicals and to inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, thus contributing to lower cholesterol levels, though substantially high amounts of resveratrol would be required to be as effective as, for example, vitamin E.
Resveratrol has been shown in some preliminary studies to have beneficial effects on neurodegenerative disorders affecting the elderly, and may therefore be of interest in research into Alzheimers and other dementias. It can also play a protective role in the cardiovascular system, including promoting the production of the vasodilator nitric oxide, and the activation and aggregation of blood platelets.
Short-term supplementation trials of resveratrol for humans showed that it helped to regulate blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, while systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels were noticeably reduced.