There are many supplements on the market to help support immune health, and there's one gaining popularity. Gene Bruno shares how resveratrol aids immunity.
By Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG)
Not surprisingly, over the past few years, there has been significant interest in dietary supplements for immune health. In fact, the global market for immune health supplements is estimated at $20.2 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $27.6 Billion by 2026.1 Also, not surprisingly, there are many dietary supplements and many new dietary supplements being touted to promote immune health. But which ones really work? Certainly, there are many nutraceuticals with solid science which can play important roles in immune health. These include vitamin D, zinc, Echinacea, beta-glucans, and many more. Another nutraceutical with solid science for immune health is resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a type of natural phenol produced by several plants in response to injury or attack by pathogens.2 3 Initially, public excitement about resveratrol was based upon the fact that intake of it and other polyphenol compounds from red wine may contribute to the “French paradox”—the unexpectedly low rate of death from cardiovascular disease in the Mediterranean population despite the relatively higher intake of saturated fats.4 Excitement grew even greater with the understanding that resveratrol helped activate the SIRT 1 gene, associated with longevity.5
Resveratrol and Immune Health
Resveratrol can influence multiple inflammatory and non-inflammatory responses, protecting organs and tissues, thanks to its interaction with immune cells and its activity on SIRT1.6 Resveratrol helps regulate immunity due to its role in immune cell regulation, proinflammatory cytokines’ synthesis, and gene expression.7
More specifically, resveratrol can increase certain circulating immune cells known as gamma delta T cells. These are a subset of T cells that are especially vital to initial inflammatory and immune responses. Human research8 was conducted to assess the effects of repeated doses of resveratrol (1000 mg/day for 28 days) on circulating immune cells in healthy individuals. The results were that resveratrol was safe and well tolerated and was associated with significant increases in the numbers of circulating gamma delta T cells (functioning as a first line of defense and a bridge between innate and adaptive responses) and regulatory T cells.
In another 52-week study9, subjects were given resveratrol 500 mg orally once daily (with a dose escalation by 500-mg increments every 13 weeks, ending with 1000 mg twice daily), or placebo. The results were that, compared to the placebo-treated group, resveratrol markedly increased important immune cells including macrophage-derived chemokine, and interleukin (IL)-4.
Resveratrol is a phenol antioxidant which is well known for its role in activating the e SIRT 1 gene. In turn, this plays a role in immune health, influencing multiple inflammatory and non-inflammatory responses. Resveratrol has specifically been shown to increase levels of important immune cells including gamma delta T cells, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and interleukin (IL)-4. These benefits can be achieved by supplementing with 1,000 mg daily of resveratrol.
1 Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Global Immune Health Supplements Market to Reach $27.6 Billion by 2026. Cision PR Newswire. Mar 03, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022 from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-immune-health-supplements-market-to-reach-27-6-billion-by-2026--301493603.html#:~:text=Amid%20the%20COVID%2D19%20crisis,8.4%25%20over%20the%20analysis%20period.
2 Higdon J, Drake VJ, Steward WP. Resveratrol. Micronutrient Information Center. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; 2016.
3 Fremont L. Biological Effects of Resveratrol. Life Sci. 2000;66(8):663–673.
4 Labinskyy N, Csiszar A, Veress G, Stef G, Pacher P, Oroszi G, Wu J, Ungvari Z. Vascular dysfunction in aging: potential effects of resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory phytoestrogen. Current medicinal chemistry 2006; 13(9):989-96.
5 Borra MT, Smith BC, Denu JM.Mechanism of human SIRT1 activation by resveratrol. J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 29;280(17):17187-95.
6 A, Nicosia N, Fumia A, et al. Resveratrol and Immune Cells: A Link to Improve Human Health. Molecules. 2022; 27(2): 424.
7 Malaguarnera L. Influence of Resveratrol on the Immune Response. Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 946.
8 Espinoza JL, Trung LQ, Inaoka PT, Yamada K, An DT, Mizuno S, Nakao S, Takami A. The Repeated Administration of Resveratrol Has Measurable Effects on Circulating T-Cell Subsets in Humans. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:6781872.
9 Moussa C, Hebron M, Huang X. Resveratrol regulates neuro-inflammation and induces adaptive immunity in Alzheimer's disease. J Neuroinflammation. 2017 Jan 3;14(1):1.