Resveratrol Protects Brain from Stroke Damage

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Resveratrol Protects Brain from Stroke Damage
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The anti-aging resveratrol has yet another newly demonstrated method of protecting the brain. A variety of new cell and animal studies show that resveratrol1 activates an enzyme within the brain called heme oxygenase 1 that boosts up the brain’s defense system. When researchers gave relatively small amounts of resveratrol as a protective nutrient and then induced experimental stroke, reseveratrol drastically minimized the damage compared to animals not given resveratrol.

In this case resveratrol was to bolster a key natural defense mechanism against stroke damage. During a stroke, iron is released in brain cells as part of the free radical damage. Heme oxygenase 1 is an enzyme that sequesters the iron, thus interrupting the free radical chain reaction that occurs in the low oxygen situation (hypoxia) of a stroke.

In addition to protecting against free radical damage and hypoxia, heme oxygenase 1 also protects against heavy metals and immune system inflammatory messages that are common in obesity and other situations of elevated brain inflammation.

“Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke,” says Sylvain Doré, Ph.D. Doré, the leader of the study. “Resveratrol itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, resveratrol, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves. The resveratrol is needed to jump-start this protective enzymatic system that is already present within the cells.”

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Resveratrol Reduces Stroke Damage   Experimental Neurology  1.Yoshihito Sakata, Hean Zhuang, Herman Kwansa, Raymond C. Koehler, Sylvain Dor

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