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Resveratrol: Does it impact longevity, should you supplement, and if so, with which product?

We analyzed the top 60 resveratrol products so you don’t have to. This is what we found.

 

As one of the most studied and oft-cited compounds in the health and longevity space, we decided to take a deeper look at the science behind resveratrol. Here, we dive into the good, the bad, and the inconclusive; the old knowledge and latest research; and leave you with a complete methodology for how to assess the myriad of supplements out there, if you decide it’s something you might benefit from.


What Is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a natural phenol present in several food sources, most famously in the skins of purple grapes and (in trace amounts) in red wine. It is found in the roots, stems, leaves, seeds, and fruits of several plants, including mulberries, blueberries, peanuts, and Japanese knotweed. In these plants, resveratrol helps to protect against harmful fungi, bacteria, and UV damage.

Interest in resveratrol gained traction after scientists observed an epidemiological phenomenon known as the “French Paradox” in the 1980s. Scientists examined the epidemiological data of French people and observed a low incidence of coronary heart disease despite consumption of a high fat diet. Accordingly, some scientists began to speculate that it was the protective benefits of resveratrol found in red wine that kept the French from developing heart disease. Since then, it has become one of the most studied natural compounds in relation to health benefits and longevity science. 


Resveratrol’s Effect On Longevity And Health

Over the past 20 years, resveratrol has become a popular supplement for feeding studies. As the graph below shows, research into its health benefits have seen a significant and (still) increasing amount of investment.

 
Source:  Pubmed 

 

With such plentiful studies and results, being able to follow the latest science and draw accurate conclusions about the benefits and/or risks is made all the more difficult. Here are some highlights we found. 

For the better part of the last two decades, resveratrol has been regarded as a powerful antioxidant, lauded for its protective effects for chronic diseases and its ability to possibly slow the aging process. Recent studies continue to find it linked to  sirtuin activation (2017), being a  memetic  of the effects of calorie restriction on aging (2020), and show that it  inhibits the activity of mTOR  (2016)—an important regulator of autophagy.

According to this  review, resveratrol supplementation is associated with slowing of various illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as extending the lifespan of organisms. Additionally, some preclinical trials done in animals and humans suggest that it may beneficially influence biomarkers tied to longevity.

Specifically, there have been multiple studies associating oral resveratrol supplementation with measurable improvements in chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, metabolic and neurological health benefits, extended lifespan in unhealthy animals, and even anti-cancer properties.

Rather than repeat it all here, the best scientific resource that we found for the detailed synthesis of the multitude of studies in this area is Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s coverage  here (click on ‘Timeline’ for the full list of sources and detailed podcast summary). She also has an excellent write-up  here.

Some other recent  reviews  and  meta-analyses have either dismissed these health-benefit claims or noted that, despite promising results in animal studies, using resveratrol as a pharmaceutical supplement presents a unique challenge because of its low bioavailability and solubility.

When we looked at resveratrol in the  Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, which rates the effectiveness of supplements based on the available scientific research, it rates the supplement as possibly effective for weight reduction but otherwise finds there is insufficient evidence to make significant health claims regarding its ability to prevent disease. That doesn’t mean that resveratrol does not have such properties, but it suggests that the available research would need to go further than it already has in order to firmly establish efficacy.

In our experience, when scientific evidence can be found both in favor of or dismissive towards supplementation, the decision to use resveratrol as part of a healthier lifestyle and longevity protocol lies with the consumer (under guidance of a physician, of course). 

One thing that is clear is that  antioxidants, like resveratrol and other polyphenols, are important for slowing cell damage caused by free radicals in our environment. So even if the benefits to longevity were minimal or nonexistent, the antioxidant dose alone would have positive health benefits.

Many longevity science experts and thought-leaders in the field are open about resveratrol being part of their daily longevity protocol and thus err on the side of "it is likely to do more good than harm". 

And, anecdotal evidence certainly also seems to suggest that there is a segment of people who derive health benefits from resveratrol supplementation: we encountered many online reviews from consumers that laud resveratrol as helping to increase their energy, improve mood, lower blood pressure, and help manage chronic disease conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Lastly, and importantly, there has been no evidence that it is a potentially dangerous supplement. All food for thought in everyone’s personal decision on the merits of this compound.


The Mechanisms Behind Resveratrol

Among possible mechanisms of action, scientists have examined sirtuins (a family of proteins that regulate cellular health), particularly  SIRT1 activation in response to resveratrol and other polyphenols. According to  this review of clinical trials, “the SIRT1-regulated pathway affects metabolism, stress resistance, cell survival, cellular senescence, inflammation-immune function, endothelial functions, and circadian rhythms”. Because resveratrol is a SIRT1 activator, it seems to reduce diseases resulting from abnormal metabolic control, inflammation, and cell cycle defects. Additionally,studies done on rats suggest the compound may also be beneficial for preventing cancer cells growth due to its inhibitory effects on cancer cells use of glucose.

Another mechanism under consideration is resveratrol’s influence on oxidative stress and systemic inflammation. As oxidative stress mounts, systemic inflammation increases contributing to cellular senescence and aging. Supplementing resveratrol, a known antioxidant, may neutralize the detrimental effects of free radicals and oxidative stress on our cells, decreasing systemic inflammation, and delaying aging and disease. 

One weakness with resveratrol is poor bioavailability and rapid elimination from the body. The liver is extremely efficient at making resveratrol more water soluble by attaching glucuronic acid to it. This not only changes its physiological state, making much of it nearly unusable, but also causes it to be quickly urinated from the body. However, adding bioavailability enhancers (more below) can help get resveratrol past the liver and into the bloodstream, dose-dependently boosting the bioavailability more than 1500% by slowing its glucuronidation, and effectively eliminating much of the problem of poor bioavailability.


Can I Get The Same Effect From Diet?

Resveratrol has a low bioavailability and solubility when absorbed from the gut, keeping levels of circulating resveratrol in the body low. As such, the evidence across multiple feeding studies suggests that, if there are health benefits to be derived, they rely on high doses of the compound. 

For example, a 5-ounce glass of red wine contains about 1.8 milligrams of resveratrol, but most  therapeutic doses range from 100 milligrams to 1 gram. Some studies even suggest that a dose as high as 5g has no toxic or adverse effect on humans. Two studies (here and  here) suggest the amount of wine you’d need to drink to consume a therapeutic dose of resveratrol is incompatible with health due to the toxic effects of the alcohol. 

Regardless of which dosing guidelines or dietary sources you use (e.g., blueberries, etc.), there is not enough resveratrol naturally present in food to produce any effect of the nature seen in studies indicating benefits. At those quantities, it must be supplemented.


Supplementing With Resveratrol

What Is The Right Dosage Of Resveratrol To Take?

As discussed above, resveratrol has  low bioavailability and solubility in the gut, with only about 25% of the dose being delivered. Safe dosing ranges from 100 mg to 1g a day, although you should consult a doctor before beginning a resveratrol supplement. 

Some studies have also shown that its  absorption follows the circadian rhythm, therefore it is suggested that you take it with a moderately fatty breakfast (i.e., 18 grams fat, 70 grams carbohydrate, and 12 grams protein) versus a high-fat breakfast.

Check out this clip of longevity expert David Sinclair explaining resveratrol supplementation and his personal dosage.

Are There Drug Interactions And/Or Risks To Supplementing With Resveratrol?

There is comfort in knowing this compound has been as well researched, and for as long, as it has. Any interactions, adverse effects, and toxicity risk is by now quite well reported.

Toxicity

The toxicity threshold for resveratrol is 5g. Doses in excess of that could lead to stomach troubles or other serious health complications. 

Drug Interactions

Resveratrol may interfere with how the body metabolizes other drugs such as statins, antiarrhythmic agents, and antihistamines. Consult your physician if you are on any of these drugs before beginning a resveratrol supplement. 

Other Considerations

There are some  studies that indicate that, despite resveratrol’s overall anti-cancer properties, it may have adverse effects on certain estrogen-sensitive cancers (e.g., certain breast cancers) since it may act as agonist for the estrogen receptor. 

As with any supplement or diet choice, it is important to discuss any/all of these considerations, as well as the potential health benefits, with your physician before adding it to your protocol.


Choosing A Resveratrol Supplement

If you have decided (and discussed with your doctor) that a resveratrol supplement might be for you, you have come to the right place.All it takes is one Google search and you’ll see the mind-numbing array of supplements out there. 

There are different capsule sizes, purity levels, and brands to sort through, in addition to the wide-ranging prices per gram that can go anywhere from $0.10/gram to a premium $4.31/gram--that's a 4300% price difference!🤯

Navigating this product landscape (as with almost all supplements) is overwhelming: hundreds of products, no clear way to decipher what is safe and trustworthy or what to look for, and how to interpret ingredients. 

So, we set out to identify the best resveratrol products on the market. Using a highly analytical and data-driven approach, we analyzed 50 of the top selling resveratrol supplements across several key parameters. After many hours of research, here are our findings. 

Our Approach To Analyzing Resveratrol Supplements

The first step in our quest to identify the best resveratrol products in the market was to define our universe of brands to analyze. We looked at many sources to surface the highest-selling brands in the market, including industry sources (e.g.,  Nutrition Business Journal,Nutra Ingredients); clinical research data (eg.  Clinical Trials Database); supplement testing sources (Consumer Labs); and  as well as data from top commerce platforms (Amazon rankings). 

Based on this prospecting we built a list of 60 different products to be analyzed. 

 

Screening Criteria

Next, we identified the most important product attributes that you want in a resveratrol supplement. Based on this, we came up with a list of the following seven characteristics:

  1. Source ingredients

Resveratrol supplements can be derived from two different types of sources. The majority use Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum, sometimes called hu zhang or "tiger cane" root) as their source ingredient. This plant haslong been used in Japan and China as a traditional herbal remedy and appears to have higher concentrations of resveratrol than other sources. 

The second category of products is sourced from red wine-grape skins. The amount of resveratrol found in grapes appears to be lower than in Japanese Knotweed and therefore it turns out to be a more expensive source. In fact, most of the products we found in this category actually blend red wine extract with other resveratrol sources including green tea leaf, acai fruit, pomegranate, and blueberries.

To date, there is no available research differentiating one extract from the other in terms of purity or potential health benefits. The difference in supplements lies mainly in price and trust in the selling brand, and given that supplements are neither regulated nor certified by the FDA, it is important to make sure you are buying your resveratrol supplements from a trusted source.

In our analysis we favored products that use Japanese Knotweed as their only source of resveratrol. That is because it is much easier to determine the actual amount of resveratrol that they contain. With red wine grape extracts and other blends, knowing for sure how much of the active ingredient they contain is a lot harder. Each ingredient tends to be purified to different ratios, obfuscating the real amount of resveratrol you are buying.

Whether the supplement is from Japanese Knotweed or Red Grape Extract, a significant amount of supplements fail to list the source—a huge red flag. This is the equivalent of buying a hot dog and not knowing if it's pork, beef, or tofu.

Supplement labels are notoriously tricky in their disclosures as it is (see below), so we prefered to play it safe and focus only on those products that made it easier to determine what they contain.

 

2. Purity

 Because its bioavailability (how much you actually digest) is so low,this is perhaps the most important factor when selecting a resveratrol product. It refers to how much actual resveratrol is contained in each serving. 

The process of extracting resveratrol can be done to various levels of purity. In our sample of 60 products the range of purity was as low as 20% and as high 99%. Moreover, a surprising number of the products do not even disclose their level of purity! The most obvious factor that explains such a broad range in purity is manufacturing cost. 

At the risk of stating the obvious, when taking resveratrol (or any other supplement) the higher the purity, the better. Not only do you want to leave out any material that is not the specific ingredient you are seeking, you also want to know the actual dose you are taking. 

So, it is very important to keep this in mind when picking your resveratrol supplement. Many brands are less than transparent, positioning themselves as a cheaper product but as a result containing very low amounts of resveratrol.

 

3. Delivery medium

The form in which the resveratrol is delivered or packaged (e.g., microcapsules, liposomal) can make a big difference in how much of the bioactive phytochemical is absorbed by your body. The reality is that these types of compounds tend to have either relatively low bioavailability or are metabolized very quickly. The end result is that you may not get a significant increase in the levels of resveratrol in your system, and/or that the increase is short-lived.

The good news is that advances in microencapsulation are making it possible to deliver more resveratrol to the right places. The micronized form of resveratrol is an example. It uses nanoparticles that protect the bioactive substances from degradation in the digestive process. The result is that a higher amount of the ingredient makes it through the stomach and intestines and into your bloodstream.

For these reasons, we favored those few brands that use this type of delivery mechanism in their product.

 

4. Bioavailability enhancers

In addition to the delivery medium, the bioavailability of resveratrol can be enhanced with the use of natural compounds such as piperine (from black pepper) and quercetin (a pigment common in many plants). Broadly speaking, these ingredients interact with enzymes in the digestive system in a way that lowers the amount of resveratrol that is metabolized as it travels through. The result is that more of the resveratrol makes it into your bloodstream. 

For example, a study published in the journal of  Molecular Nutrition & Food Science found that in a mice model, administration of resveratrol with piperine increased the “degree of exposure resveratrol to 229% and the maximum serum concentration was increased to 1544%” of the levels achieved with resveratrol alone. 

Given the importance of maximizing the amount of resveratrol that makes it into your bloodstream, we favored products that include one of these elements in their formulation.

 

5. Pricing

When analyzing the costs of different resveratrol products, it is important to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. The resveratrol products we analyzed come with widely different dosages, purity levels, and number of servings per container. That makes direct comparison of prices a bit tricky. 

To facilitate our analysis, we normalized the price of each one as a function of the cost per 1gm of pure resveratrol. The result is quite eye-opening. While two products may sell for the same price, the actual cost of the resveratrol inside can vary by a factor of more than 500%! 

 

6. Brand Credibility

We took a look at the companies behind each brand and assigned them a qualitative score based on factors such as: the number of years in operation, breadth of product offering, research capabilities, and management teams. We also took into account consumer product ratings in commerce sites like Amazon. 

 A significant percentage of supplement companies are really marketing operations selling white-label products they source from distributors. We favored those companies that showed a deeper set of capabilities, or a stated focus on resveratrol as their main product.

 

7. Clinical Studies

Finally, a small number of the products we analyzed have been used in  clinical research studies focused on the health benefits of resveratrol. Given the high quality standard usually applied to determine the product to be used in a formal study, we favored those brands that have been selected for use in these research settings. 

 

Additional factors

It is very rare that the company behind a resveratrol brand will produce the product from scratch. Moreover, most companies are reluctant to disclose their suppliers either for raw materials or processed resveratrol. In fact, only 2 companies in the universe of 60 disclosed their source on their labels. 

This is somewhat concerning given that a very large percentage of the Japanese Knotweed used to extract resveratrol comes from China or other countries that have light regulations and quality controls. We favored the products that were transparent with their sourcing. However, this number was so small that more work needs to be done to determine the quality of the sourcing of most products.

 

Analyzing The 60 Products 

Armed with our key product attributes we analyzed our field of 60 products we had pre-selected. Here is how we narrowed the field to identify our top picks:

STEP1: Screen out those products based on red wine extract or polyphenol blends.

Of the 60 products, 20 of them are made from red wine extracts or blends. We screened these out because, as stated above, it is much more difficult to determine the precise amount of resveratrol contained in these mixes. 

STEP 2: Screen out those products that do NOT disclose the level of purity of Resveratrol they contain.

It is perhaps not surprising that not all resveratrol products disclose the exact amount of resveratrol they are selling per serving. It is frustrating nonetheless. We all know that the supplement industry is notorious for having brands making claims that have not been necessarily supported in scientific research. What’s worse is that they are purposely opaque about what’s inside. In this case we found that a third of the products based on Japanese Knotweed are not transparent about the level of purity of their product.

 

 

STEP 3: Next, we narrowed down the field to those products that have purity equal to or greater than 98%.

We next decided to focus on only the products that contain the highest purity levels of resveratrol. A 98% level of purity seems to be the norm among high quality resveratrol products. However there are a few brands that report having a 99% level of purity which is considered to be “pharmaceutical” grade. Of the 27 products that reported their level of purity, only 9 are 98% or higher.

 

 

STEP 4: Screen the remaining products based on delivery medium, bioavailability enhancement, pricing, and other relevant factors.

Based on the filters above, we narrowed our initial field of 60 top selling resveratrol brands to a group of 9 high-purity products. We then applied the rest of our criteria to select our top picks. Below we show how the 9 finalist brands fall based on price per gram of resveratrol content. It is noteworthy that even after applying our initial set of screens the price of the top products fluctuates significantly, from $0.84 to $4.53 per gram of resveratrol content. That is a variation of 540%!

 

 

Here Are Our Top Picks

After scrutinizing each of the 9 finalist products along all selection criteria, we landed at the top products we recommend.(Please Note: we have no affiliation with any of these products!) 

 

Top Pick:Mega Resveratrol 

This product stands out with its 99% purity level and its use of micronized capsules for better bioavailability. We like that this brand’s sole focus is resveratrol and that it publishes independent lab certifications. Although Mega Resveratrol is not inexpensive at $1.54 per gram of pure resveratrol, it is cheaper than our Premium pick. The only thing that we wish the product had is piperine to further increase its bioavailability. 

 

Premium Choice:Biotiva Transmax 500mg

This product hits all the checkboxes for us, but it does come at a price. We really like that it comes from a very reputable brand. Biotiva has very clear information throughout its site regarding manufacturing and certifications from multiple labs.The product itself has a purity rating of 98% which is rare among resveratrol supplements. Most importantly Transmax includes Piperine, which has been shown to significantly increase bioavailability, yet unlike our top pick it does not come in micronized capsules.

 

Best Value:Optify Resveratrol Supplement

This product stood out to us because it offers similar purity levels to our top and premium choice, comes with Piperine, but it has a significantly lower price. Optify's product comes in at Price per Purity Gram of $0.97 (bottle costs 17.95), less than half of Biotiva's. The resveratrol has an excellent 97% purity and comes with 10mg of BioPerine (their version of Piperine). All this has us jazzed about it with a killer price. The brand is lesser known, which is why it did not take our top pick. 

 

Honorable Mention:MAAC10 Trans-Resveratrol 500mg Supplement 

On paper, the MACC10 supplement is the best product out there. The supplement comes with 99% purity, piperine additive, and Micronized Particles. The huge flaw: we cannot seem to trust the brand. The website and information on their site do not inspire confidence, it is almost ‘too good to be true’. We wish we could recommend it, but we want to see a further explanation of the manufacturing process, increased online presence, and customer support. The supplement’s Price per Gram Purity is $1.98 (bottle costs $29.99)

 

More Detail On Each Pick

Top Pick: Mega Resveratrol 120 Capsule

Mega Resveratrol stands out as this is one of the few products that comes micronized! It comes with a high purity level of 99% and a price per gram of $1.56, which is not cheap but below our premium pick. Another big plus is the brand focuses specifically on production of Resveratrol as well as listing lab certifications and clear customer policy.

In addition, we found Mega Resveratrol was used in 2 clinical trials, one of which showed positive results for diabetes type 2 patients when it came to traditional biomarkers of blood pressure and such.

 

The Premium Choice: Biotivia's Transmax 

We really liked Transmax by Biotivia because it checks nearly all the boxes set by our screening criteria. Transmax has a purity rating of 98% extracted from Japanese Knotweed. It comes in a healthy dose of 500mg per capsule and also contains 5mg of piperine and 5mg of polydatin for increased bioavailability. Polydatin is a derivative of resveratrol that gives the product a longer half life in your metabolism, thereby enhancing the potency of the product. 

We particularly liked the fact that Transmax has been listed as the product used in  7 clinical trials focused on different health benefits of resveratrol. This is the highest number of studies we found for any other of the top brands. The product has also been verified by  Consumerlab for label accuracy.

Biotivia is a family-owned company established in 1992 in Vienna, Austria. It started as a supplier of natural raw materials and biologically active botanics to the supplement and functional food industries. They also supply natural supplements to researchers and scientific institutions. Biotivia is one of the world leaders in resveratrol and pterostilbene-based supplements.

Their line of consumer products isfocused specifically on developing supplements for healthy lifespan. They have an internal research capability focused on monitoring the latest advances in longevity science and formulating natural supplements for maximum bioavailability. They also claim to adhere to quality control standards developed for the pharmaceutical industry, not just minimum requirements for supplements established by the FDA. 

The only selection criteria that Transmax does not cover is a micronized delivery medium. They offer that in another product called Transmax TR. For this product they take out the piperine and polydatin use 10 micron particles to maximize bioavailability.

When it comes to price, Transmax is one of the most expensive products we reviewed coming in at $2.30 per gram of resveratrol. This is the second most expensive product in our list of 9 finalists. This is consistent with the company’s positioning as a premium product. This is just our “editorial” opinion, but here goes: considering that as a company they are more vertically integrated than the lion’s share of the brands out there, they have a better chance of controlling the quality of the product from end to end. So, on balance, if pricing is not the main driver we think this is an excellent choice to try.

 

The Best Value: Optify Resveratrol Supplement

This product has a crazy value proposition as it offers a high purity level and it comes with piperine. Compared to our premium and top pick, a Price per Purity Gram of $0.97 (bottle costs 17.95), is less than half of Biotiva's. As a best value it steals the show. 

The reason why it does not take the absolute #1 spot in our rankings is the brand. Optify is a relatively unknown brand, and their site does not specify as much information on the manufacturing process and lab testing as we'd like to. They do, however, claim it has been lab-tested and manufactured in the US, yet we could not find it listed in the resveratrol clinical trials. 

 

The Honorable Mention: MAAC10 Transeratrol Trans-Resveratrol 

This is definitely one of the most well-rounded resveratrol products we analyzed. It starts with apurity level of 99%, which is considered “pharmaceutical” grade. Only 4 of the 60 products in our pool claim that level of purity. 

It comes in a dose of 2 capsules totaling 500mgs. To address bioavailability the MAAC10 comes with 1mg ofBioPerine, which is a trademarked piperine product. As mentioned elsewhere in our report, piperine is the active compound in black pepper that helps slow the absorption of supplements like resveratrol. Additionally this product is delivered through a micronized medium which should also boost the time resveratrol is available in your system.

The company behind this product is called MAAC 10 Formulas. Their product focus is on supporting the generation of NAD to compensate for its natural decline in our cells as we age. This a “mitochondrial health” approach to longevity. 

The company is based in Florida. Getting additional information on the company was not easy. We believe that it was established in 2015 and that they are covered in several industry reports focused on leading companies in the NMN / NAD market. 

This factor held us back from placing this product at the top of our picks. On the plus side, their customer service was quite responsive. They indicated that the product is natural and that they source it locally in Florida. We have reason to believe that the supplier is possibly RevGenetics, but could not confirm this.

Our pricing analysis has the MAAC10 resveratrol at $2.02 per gram of resveratrol. This is cheaper than the Biotivia product bby $0.28 per gram. For us, the decision on this product boiled down to saving a bit versus the brand value and potential quality premium that Biotivia brings to Transmax.

 

How Can You Know If Resveratrol Is Giving You Health Benefits? 

There is no consumer test to determine the effects of resveratrol. Measuring before-and-after levels of blood pressure, blood glucose, and biomarkers like SIRT1 is the only way to tell if the supplement is significantly helping you on your longevity journey. As such, we encourage a baseline and then regular, follow-up medical checkups and blood tests to track progress.

 

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