A naturally occurring substance, Resveratrol has been shown to have the potential for a variety of positive impacts on health and wellness.
The numerous attributes of Resveratrol may help to reduce the potential for symptoms of hair loss related to numerous conditions and may even have a direct impact in delaying the onset of hair loss.
In this article we will review the evidence for and against resveratrol as a way to improve hair health.
Keep in mind that data is limited at this stage. If you are suffering from hair loss then the first step in treatment is getting a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional.
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound commonly ingested through eating foods such as grapes or nuts. The action of Resveratrol is to activate enzymes known as Sirtuins, which are proteins that localize within the mitochondria. (See Fig. 1)
Mitochondrion are the parts of a cell where cellular respiration and energy production occur, and are associated with the overall health of the organism.
The Sirtuin protein, when activated, promotes the metabolic processes that take place within the cell in conjunction with the mitochondria.
Improved mitochondrial function can have a variety of benefits on wellness, which promotes positive overall physical health.
Resveratrol is known as a flavonoid, a class of phytochemicals that has been shown to have significant health benefits. Flavonoids may help prevent damage from cholesterol and blood clots, and may have a role in the suppressing the growth of various types of tumors.
Based on the action of Resveratrol and its potential to promote overall health, there are significant implications in its ability to reduce the effects of some underlying conditions that promote hair loss.
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While Resveratrol is a naturally occurring substance there remain many unknowns about the potential positive and negative impacts of its consumption, making it important to consult a health professional when considering the use of Resveratrol.
How Resveratrol Can Impact Hair Loss
Resveratrol is being studied across medical disciplines as a potential treatment for many diseases, and it’s even being studied for its effectiveness in reducing the effects of aging in humans.
Resveratrol has been shown to have a positive impact on the onset of age-related diseases in rodents, which has significant implications for its potential human use.
As issues related to hair loss are associated with age, the use of Resveratrol has the potential to increase the age of onset and slow the progression of genetically determined hair loss.
One 2011 study in Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics found that Resveratrol was shown to have many therapeutic effects on diseases and disorders, including those of the skin.
Resveratrol helps to protect skin from damage and shows promise in addressing issues related to skin aging. Hair follicles are located within the dermis, one layer of the organ that is your skin.
Poor overall health of the skin will impact the ability of the hair follicle to function normally, which can lead to conditions of hair loss and thinning hair. The role Resveratrol plays in promoting healthy skin is one of the invaluable contributions its makes in the body’s ability to grow hair.
The Oxford Journal released a study in 2013 that suggested the potential link between Resveratrol and improvements in cardiometabolic health. One benefit noted in this study is the potential for improved endothelial function.
Endothelial dysfunction can have serious effects on wellness and physical stressors on the body (see Fig. 2). Reduced blood flow to the hair follicles can lead to a reduction in its ability to stimulate continued growth of the hair.
Effects of Endothelial Dysfunction
- -Vascular lesion and remodeling
- -Plaque rupture
Resveratrol has been shown to have an impact on cardiac health, and it is suggested that one potential reason for this is the down regulation of inflammatory responses.
The anti-inflammatory effects of Resveratrol may provide another benefit, as inflammation is associated with issues of hair loss.
This mechanism of action related to Resveratrol has a benefit that is twofold; healthy cardiac functioning promotes blood flow as well as skin and follicle health, and it also reduces the potential for symptoms of hair loss that are related to issues of inflammation.
Potential Benefits of Resveratrol
- Improve overall cardiovascular health, which promotes full body wellness
- Reduce effect/onset of age-related issues including hair loss
- Improve overall health and reduce effects of underlying issues related to hair loss
- Anti-inflammatory attributes can combat the negative impacts of inflammation on hair loss
- Improved endothelial function, which can promote blood flow to the hair follicles
- Improved metabolic functioning contributes to overall physical wellness
Possible Side Effects of Resveratrol
While there are plenty of potential benefits to increasing the intake of Resveratrol, there remains a potential for various side effects. The anti-inflammatory aspects of Resveratrol also give it characteristics of an anticoagulant such as Warfarin. Resveratrol is related to estrogen and can boost estrogen activity in the body.
With limited evidence on the full side effects of Resveratrol, a due to its anticoagulant properties, its capacity to boost estrogen which can be hazardous to women in some situations, and with other unknown consequences, people in any of the following categories should use Resveratrol cautiously and consult a medical professional;
- Women taking contraceptive medication
- Women who are or may become pregnant
- Individuals who have diseases that affect platelet function
- People with cardiac conditions
If you do start to experience any side effects from increasing Resveratrol intake naturally, or through a supplement, it is important to consult a physician immediately.
Ways to Increase Resveratrol Intake
There are many supplements available that are high in Resveratrol, and a variety of prescription medicines have been developed that include Resveratrol. However, ingesting Resveratrol naturally through your diet can have some of the same positive impact with less risk for negative side effects and unwanted outcomes.
While Resveratrol can be taken as a supplement, it is also possible to make some dietary changes in order to increase the amount of Resveratrol ingested through food. Thankfully, the foods that Resveratrol can be found in also happens to be pretty delicious.
Furthermore, the added benefit of improving your diet and developing ways to monitor your nutrition will lead to improvements in your general health.
Even when pursuing natural sources of increased Resveratrol there is such a thing as too much, so be sure to pursue this course within limits and consult a health professional immediately if you begin to notice any negative side effects.
Foods Containing Resveratrol
- Peanut Butter – There is a small amount of Resveratrol in peanut butter, which is also a source for other nutrients, however I wouldn’t recommend peanuts as they are actually a legume (not a nut) and contain chemicals that many can have allergic reactions to (even delayed reactions) that can cause inflammation.
- Dark Chocolate – Natural, dark chocolate, has a small amount of Resveratrol and many other benefits
- Blueberries – A significant source of antioxidants, blueberries are also a good source of Resveratrol
- Red Grapes – The skins of red grapes are a good source of Resveratrol, which carries over into wine as well
- Nuts – A variety of nuts are a good source of Resveratrol including, pistachios, walnuts, cashews and almonds
Resveratrol Boosting Smoothie For Hair Loss
This smoothie can help boost your levels of resveratrol in a healthy way.
Although it may be easy to eat a dark chocolate and blueberry cookie, or drinking a bottle of red wine to boost your resveratrol levels you could be harming your hair in other ways.
Resveratrol smoothie ingredients:
- 1 scoop of hemp protein
- 1 large handful of frozen or fresh blueberries
- 1 handful of frozen of fresh red seedless grapes
- 2 chunks of high cocoa content chocolate (70% or above)
- 1 large handful of mixed nuts including cashew nuts
- Almond milk (if available, if not use bottled water) to desired consistency
- Some coconut oil/water/flesh
- Bonus points for a splash of pumpkin seed oil
Make the smoothly at least weekly for a month to top up your resveratrol levels and then continue to have it whenever you feel like. Pumpkin seed oil is added as an extra bonus since it may help to improve hair count according to one study
In conclusion, the use of Resveratrol has the potential to provide a variety of positive benefits to individuals suffering from symptoms of hair loss, thinning hair, and receding hair lines.
There are numerous potential benefits associated with Resveratrol including; anti-inflammation, improved cardiovascular health, improved metabolic functioning, improved endothelial function, and potential anti-aging effects.
Many of the positive impacts of Resveratrol may help to reduce the negative consequences of various conditions that are related to hair loss, thinning hair, and retreating hair lines.
While there are many options for increasing the amount of Resveratrol you get, the potential benefits can be achieved through natural methods.
If you have any of the numerous underlying conditions or medical issues that contribute to hair loss, or if you may be genetically predisposed, you could consider altering your diet to increase your intake of Resveratrol.
Getting a diagnosis is the first step to successful treatment. If you do have androgenetic alopecia it is unlikely that resverotrol will help with your hair loss. Your doctor may recommend an FDA approved treatment such as minoxidil or finasteride.