Tag Archives: Mental Health

Resveratrol and Brain Health

Woman having red wine

What would you think if you were told that your evening glass of wine could help your memory stay keen as you age? As it happens, there are hypotheses circulating suggesting that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes that’s abundant in red wine and grape juice, might be able to keep your brain healthy even as you age. Of course, caution and healthy skepticism are always valuable boons when dealing with anything that sounds like it might be too good to be true, so let’s examine these ideas carefully.

Claims
The purported benefits of resveratrol for the brain tend to revolve around improvement of memory, or at the very least, prevention of memory degradation. More specifically, this would mean that regular consumption of resveratrol might help one create, retain, and recall memories better. Some claims also tout resveratrol as helping general cognitive processing and function, meaning that it might help you process information faster and have clearer and sharper thoughts in general (cut away mental “fog,” so to speak).

Studies
There have actually been a couple clinical studies done on this phenomenon, and while further testing is necessary to confirm that resveratrol makes for an effective treatment or supplemental treatment, the results are promising. Trials done on both animals and human volunteers indicate that resveratrol might be able to improve memory retention and function. Evidence supporting resveratrol helping with generalized cognitive function and processing, however, has scant anecdotal evidence at best; it certainly might help, but we don’t know for sure yet and won’t know without further studies.

The Takeaway
In short, there’s enough evidence supporting resveratrol having at least a couple beneficial effects on long term health of the brain, so while we don’t have the full picture just yet, we know enough to say that at worst, it’s harmless and might only help a little, and at best, it might help a lot. So don’t treat regular consumption of resveratrol as a cure-all or stop seeing your doctor (please, please keep going to your doctor appointments and keeping them up to date on everything that concerns your health), but go ahead and sip that red wine, and toast to your good health.

Tips and Tricks
Remember, of course, that you should still moderate alcohol consumption, even if it is red wine you’re drinking. A good habit is to limit yourself to one drink a day on an average day, only exceeding this on special occasions and social outings (ideally no more than once a week, and still only 2-4 drinks in that case).

Further, you don’t actually need to consume alcohol to get antioxidants, so if you’re trying to cut back or recovering from an addiction, never fear. Red grape juice, pomegranate juice, and dark chocolate are just a few good non-alcoholic sources of antioxidants. In general, dark, leafy greens and especially dark fruits are your best bets.

Three Ways to Benefit from Resvertrol

Woman having red wine

Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds derived from plants called polyphenols. It is found abundantly in the skin of red grapes, as well as in berries and peanuts and is the reason why consuming red wine is often touted as having numerous health benefits. Advertisements for resveratrol claim it can do virtually anything from promoting weight loss to extending people’s lives. Here we detail three ways you can benefit from taking this wonder-drug.

Anti-Aging
Every day, our bodies are exposed to environmental factors such as pollution or even just stress that lead to the formation of free-radicals. Excessive amounts of free radicals are known to cause premature aging which can also lead to disease. Resveratrol works as an antioxidant and scavenges these free-radicals keeping our bodies healthier and our skin looking younger. In the past few decades, there have been literary thousands of studies conducted on resveratrol which have highlighted how the compound prevents oxidative stress in our blood vessels and helps promote normal cell replication. All in all. this means supplementing it will ensure you stay in tip-top condition throughout your life.

Disease Prevention
Phytochemicals like resveratrol are known to reduce individual’s risk of developing major diseases. Resveratrol has shown itself to reduce inflammation in the body and prevent the oxidation of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol preventing the formation of clots that can lead to heart attacks. The supplement has also shown to limit the spread of cancerous cells and help promote their apoptosis or death. Additionally, the compound prevents insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, keeping the effect of the blood-sugar hormone insulin working as best as it can. Resveratrol has also shown to increase levels of the hormone leptin which regulates fat storage and therefore assists with weight loss and prevention of over-eating.

Mental Health and Cognitive Decline
By improving cellular support, resveratrol has also shown to boost mental health and help prevent cognitive decline. One study in Germany involving 56 healthy volunteers found the use of resveratrol led to an increased ability in simple tasks such as remembering words. Additionally, those who took the supplement had an increase in functional connectivity of the hippocampus, an area of the brain used for the organization of memory, compared to those who took placebo. Preliminary studies have also shown that resveratrol may prevent nerve damage and the buildup of plaque in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dosage
Dosages used in studies are typically higher than those found in supplements today with the amount shown to be beneficial being around 2000mg and most supplements containing anywhere between 250-500mg. Generally speaking recommended maximum doses lie around 500mg/day. However, even though resveratrol is present in much smaller amounts in red wine, at around 2mg per glass, nations that consume red wine in abundance such as France have shown to have far reduced the risk of numerous diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. This means supplementing even just 250mg/day is likely to yield numerous benefits.

Essential Fatty Acids: Vitamin F

Vitamin F, more commonly referred to as essential fatty acids, is named a vitamin, but in fact, is more accurately termed a fat. Your body requires essential fatty acids, but since it is not able to make these substances, you have to look to external sources to provide these essential fatty acids to your body. Below, find out what vitamin F is, what benefits vitamin F provides to your body and how you can get the necessary amount of vitamin F.

Capsules

What is Vitamin F?
There are two types of essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid and linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are not synthesized by your body, meaning that it is necessary to get them from foods or supplements. These essential fatty acids are required for the normal growth and healthy function of your cells. In 1923, when these essential fatty acids were discovered, they were termed “vitamin F,” but as previously mentioned, subsequent studies shows that vitamin F is better classified as a fat.

What Benefits Does Vitamin F Have?
The three main benefits of vitamin F are:

  • Maintaining Skin and Nail Health – Vitamin F is critical for healthy skin and nails. Without proper levels of essential fatty acids, both your skin and nails will become dry and brittle. This means that your nails will grow more slowly and be more prone to peeling, splitting or breaking and your skin will be far more susceptible to bruising and tearing. Linoleic acid, a component of vitamin F, provides anti-inflammatory benefits to your skin, which make it useful in the treatment of acne. Additionally, linoleic acid is able to permeate the skin, so other active ingredients that you use, like antioxidants, are able to be more fully absorbed by the skin.
  • Reducing Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – Contemporary Nutrition suggests that consuming vitamin F daily will provide the greatest benefits to your cardiovascular health. Essential fatty acids play a vital role in the life cycle of cardiac cells and with the proper levels of vitamin F, the life and death of cardiac cells both function in a healthy manner.
  • Lowering LDL Cholesterol – LDL (low-density lipids) is the “bad” cholesterol and by consuming adequate amounts of vitamin F can help to lower the levels of LDL in your blood. Lowering the levels of LDL in your blood improves your overall circulation which lowers your risk of infections and increases your ability to heal from illnesses.
  • Mental Health Benefits – There is no conclusive evidence to support or refute the claims that essential fatty acids can help reduce anxiety and alleviate depression, but preliminary studies on the subject are encouraging.

Because your body doesn’t synthesize vitamin F, you will have to consume foods that contain essential fatty acids, or take supplements. Soybean, safflower and corn oils are all excellent sources of linoleic acid and flaxseed oil is the best dietary source of alpha-linolenic acid. Salmon, tuna and halibut are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids, while foods like brazil nuts, pecans and roasted sunflower seeds are sources of linoleic acid. Enjoy vitamin F for healthy skin and nails, lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.