Resveratrol and Brain Protection – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 445
InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.
To protect our brain from the outside world in case we get conked on the head with something, we have a very hard skull. But what protects our brain from things that are inside of us that do not belong in our brain? We have a powerful shield called the blood-brain barrier and it’s pretty complex. The issue is that as we age, it can become a little bit porous. It can get a little bit leaky and things can get into our brain that don’t belong in there.†
The Importance of the Blood-Brain Barrier
So what exactly would our blood-brain barrier be protecting us from? We have viruses and bacteria in the body, but there’s also waste products, such as byproducts from energy utilization and muscle functions, toxins and our own immune system. These need to be kept out of our brain and that’s what the blood-brain barrier does.†
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We have cells called astrocytes that look like stars that help to feed the brain and work as the brain’s immune system. Astrocytes that are located close to the blood-brain barrier have the ability to repair this shield. This, to a degree, is dependent on a gene called sirtuin 1. Sometimes, there’s an imbalance and the blood-brain barrier that shields our brain becomes leaky. Resveratrol can help correct this.†
With age, sirtuin 1 levels in the brain decline. This affects the brain in many ways. When this occurs, you’re not preparing the blood-brain barrier as efficiently and effectively as you used to and it starts to get leaky and porous. If this is severe enough, it can be involved with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.†
Resveratrol and Brain Health
A number of studies have found that inflammation in the body can inflame and damage the blood-brain barrier. This also inflames the brain and creates swelling. When the brain swells, it’s no longer capable of detoxifying. You get the buildup of a protein called beta-amyloid that can potentially become toxic. This protein creates chains called oligomers that poison your brain cells and kill your nerve tissue. This can lead to Alzheimer’s.†
In some of these studies, researchers showed that giving Alzheimer’s patients resveratrol was helping them to function better and even remember a little bit better. When the researchers really dug down deep into the data, they saw that the resveratrol was helping to heal the blood-brain barrier, so the bad things could no longer penetrate into the brain. Inflammation of the brain went down and so did swelling. The brain was able to restart the detoxification mechanisms and breakdown and remove some of the plaques.†
Resveratrol is triggering the repair of the blood-brain barrier. What it seems to be doing is restoring sirtuin 1 activity in the brain, which allows for the reactivation of astrocytes to repair the blood-brain barrier. This makes having a really high-quality resveratrol supplement very worthwhile in your 50s.†
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There is another important function of resveratrol for the brain. It also helps to restore circulation to the brain. Resveratrol is probably the most vaso-active supplement you can take. In other words, it helps to restore circulation throughout the body. This is especially important for the aging brain. The brain uses about 20% of the energy from each meal and to get all of that energy to the brain, you need a really good circulatory system. With age, the lining of your blood vessels stiffen and thicken, making it difficult for this energy to flow throughout the body and to the brain. Research has shown that resveratrol helps to restore circulation to the aging brain and is also very good for memory and cognitive functions.†
In this episode, Jerry Hickey, Ph. explains the important function of the blood brain barrier. He discusses how this shield helps protect the brain and delves into the ways resveratrol can help to keep it strong throughout the aging process.†
- What is sirtuin 1?
- The dangers of getting toxins in the brain
- Research on resveratrol and brain health
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