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How Resveratrol Protects the Brain in Neurodegenerative Disease

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Editor’s Note: Resveratrol has been recommended by some Lyme-literate practitioners to support microcirculation to the brain; to reduce free radical activity and oxidative damage to the neurological system, and ultimately, support the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain and heart, which are both often profoundly affected in Lyme.

Unique properties of polyphenol stilbenes in the brain: more than direct antioxidant actions; gene/protein regulatory activity
 
Abstract
 
The 'French Paradox' has been typically associated with moderate consumption of wine, especially red wine. A polyphenol 3,4',5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene (a member of the non-flavonoids family), better known as resveratrol, has been purported to have many health benefits. A number of these valuable properties have been attributed to its intrinsic antioxidant capabilities, although the potential level of resveratrol in the circulation is likely not enough to neutralize free radical scavenging.
 
The brain and the heart are uniquely vulnerable to hypoxic conditions and oxidative stress injuries. Recently, evidence suggests that resveratrol could act as a signaling molecule within tissues and cells to modulate the expression of genes and proteins. Stimulation of such proteins and enzymes could explain some the intracellular antioxidative properties.
 
The modulation of genes could suffice as an explanation of some of resveratrol's cytoprotective actions, as well as its influence on blood flow, cell death, and inflammatory cascades. Resveratrol stimulation of the expression of heme oxygenase is one example. Increased heme oxygenase activity has led to significant protection against models of in vitro and in vivo oxidative stress injury.
 
Resveratrol could provide cellular resistance against insults; although more work is necessary before it is prescribed as a potential prophylactic in models of either acute or chronic conditions, such as stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson, Alzheimer, and a variety of age-related vascular disorders.
 
Source:  Doré S1. Unique properties of polyphenol stilbenes in the brain: more than direct antioxidant actions; gene/protein regulatory activity. Neurosignals. 2005;14(1-2):61-70.

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