Resveratrol neutralizes free radicals
In chemical terms, free radicals are atoms or molecules that are short of one particle (electron) and consequently do everything they can to tear this electron away from other molecules. Free radicals are therefore extremely aggressive and pay no attention to the losses incurred as a result of their activity. They form chemical bonds with all the substances that come into contact with them, as a result of which the substances are destroyed.
Free radicals also destroy cells, cell structures, and even human genetic material. There is a whole range of factors that can cause free radicals to increase explosively: nicotine, stress, obesity, disease, strenuous physical activity such as competitive sport, and even oxygen. Free radicals form from the oxygen in the air with every breath we take.
After our bodies have been subjected to attack for a certain period, our immune system is no longer able to cope. Harmful metabolic products accumulate and our cells’ ability to divide is impaired. Free radicals are consequently one of the causes of almost every age-related disease, from heart attacks and metabolic disorders to Alzheimer’s disease.
Even age spots and wrinkles are the work of free radicals. Free radicals can even cause cancer by modifying our genetic material.
Nature to the rescue
Thankfully, nature gave us antioxidants with which we can defend ourselves against attack from these aggressive molecules. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals but are themselves consumed in the process. Nowadays, it is essential that we make sure we always have sufficient antioxidants in our bodies by eating the right foods and taking the right supplements.
The most effective antioxidants include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), and the trace elements selenium and zinc. However, the most powerful antioxidants yet known are the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) in plants, of which resveratrol is one.
Experts believe that resveratrol is 40 times stronger than vitamin E and 18 times stronger than vitamin C. As resveratrol dissolves in both water and fat, it can take effect in almost all parts of the body. This is not the case with most other antioxidants. Vitamin C can only work in a watery milieu, vitamin E in a fatty one.
We know that our vitamin C reserves can only be adequately replenished with plant products. Our bodies can store this substance for about seven weeks; afterwards, our reserves will be exhausted. If they are not constantly restocked, our teeth fall out and we suffer from bleeding, increased susceptibility to infection, and bone deformities. Our physical condition gradually degenerates over the years, sometimes considerably faster, and ultimately the deficiency leads to death (usually from an age-related disease).