Resveratrol is a natural remedy frequently marketed as a weight loss aid. An antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes, resveratrol is said to speed up metabolism and prevent the growth of fat cells.
The Science Behind Resveratrol and Weight Loss
To date, most of the data on resveratrol and weight loss have come from test-tube studies and animal-based research. In a 2011 study published in the journal BMC Physiology, for instance, scientists found that lemurs fed a resveratrol-enriched diet gained less weight during the winter (a period typically marked by weight gain in the small primate animals). Study results suggest that resveratrol helped prevent weight gain by revving up the lemurs' metabolism and decreasing their intake of calories.
Previously published animal-based research indicates that resveratrol may help stave off weight gain among rodents fed a high-fat diet. In addition, test-tube studies show that resveratrol may help counteract the formation of fat cells.
However, in a 2009 report from Nutrition Research Reviews, scientists caution that resveratrol should "not be recommended for use in the prevention and treatment of obesity" until more is known about its safety and effectiveness. The report's authors also note that resveratrol may be toxic to the liver.
Should You Use Resveratrol for Weight Loss?
While preliminary research suggests that resveratrol shows promise for obesity prevention, given the lack of clinical trials on resveratrol and weight loss, it's too soon to recommend resveratrol as a weight loss aid. What's more, very little is known about the safety of long-term use of resveratrol supplements.
To increase your resveratrol intake without using supplements, try adding resveratrol-rich foods like grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranate to your diet. Although these foods may not have a significant effect on weight loss, they do offer a range of antioxidants and other nutrients.
Following a weight-management plan that pairs healthy eating with regular exercise is the best approach to weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. Keeping a food diary, getting eight hours of sleep each night, keeping your stress in check, and natural weight remedies may also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
If you're considering the use of resveratrol supplements for weight loss (or any other health purposes), talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen.
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