Search IconSearch

Health Benefits of Resveratrol — and Should You Take It?

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that provides protective benefits for your heart, brain and body

resveratrol in grapes and grape juice

You’ve heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a glass of wine — or even a glass of grape juice — could keep you feeling healthy in a variety of ways, thanks to a key ingredient known as resveratrol. Before you uncork your next bottle or seek out supplements, registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, breaks down what you should know about resveratrol’s benefits.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

What is resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a naturally occurring highly powerful antioxidant. Although you can find it in peanuts, blueberries and cranberries, it’s most prominent in the skin of grapes and shines through in natural grape juice and red wine.

“Red wine is fermented with grape skins, so it contains resveratrol,” says Zumpano. “There is some resveratrol in white wine, but red wine contains three to 10 times more resveratrol compared to white wine.”

The benefits of resveratrol

Like other antioxidants, resveratrol contains various protective qualities that may help your body carry on a number of daily processes and fight off illness. And while there’ve been numerous studies documenting a wide array of antioxidants’ potential benefits that include anti-aging effects, anti-cancer effects and more, many more studies need to be done on resveratrol alone. However, there are several properties of resveratrol that might make these benefits possible.

Positively impacts brain and heart health

We know resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory because it’s an antioxidant, so it affects cells in your body by protecting them from damage. Most notably, it helps with brain and heart inflammation by providing a protective lining for your blood vessels and preventing insult or injury. This means it could have neuroprotective qualities and help preserve memory and brain function, as well as prevent heart disease and strokes.

“Resveratrol and other antioxidants are kind of like Saran wrap for your cells,” says Zumpano. “They wrap around the cell like a nice layer, so when you have compounds floating around your bloodstream and the environment that are trying to attack and damage that cell, you have this extra layer of protection.”

Assists with increasing HDL and reducing LDL cholesterol

Zumpano says antioxidants help with multiple systems in your body. A diet high in antioxidant-rich foods promotes high levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and low levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). “The foods that you eat affect your entire body — your cells, bones, blood and organs. The higher the antioxidant content, the greater the entire body is protected from disease and suppresses inflammation,” says Zumpano.

Helps reduce blood clotting

Polyphenols also appear to improve the function of blood vessels and may help slow down the formation of blood clots. Alcohol can also act as a blood thinner, so red wine, when consumed responsibly, can help reduce clot formation. Therefore, if you combine polyphenols and alcohol, you have an even greater blood-thinning effect.

Potential side effects of resveratrol

Resveratrol has a fairly low toxicity level. It’s reasonably well tolerated up to 5 grams per day. Studies have indicated nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues can occur when consuming higher doses. But these higher doses cannot be reached by diet alone and are usually reached when you consume supplements.


Should you take resveratrol?

To benefit from resveratrol, Zumpano suggests working 1 gram of resveratrol into your diet each day, and that it’s important this comes from natural sources. A glass of wine or grape juice is OK, but turning to resveratrol supplements may not be the right path to take, as too much of a good thing can sometimes present negative effects.

Supplements aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you can never be certain you are getting the amount of resveratrol that a product claims it provides. Plus, anytime you can tap a natural source, you’re bound to benefit from it.

“There is a certain amount of resveratrol that your body cannot absorb and it’s difficult to determine that amount,” says Zumpano. “The case with most supplements is you’re certainly going to absorb it and utilize it much better from a real dietary source.”


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person standing in front of oversized nutrition label, reading it
June 19, 2024/Nutrition
What Can You Learn From a Nutrition Label?

Information on serving size, calories and nutrients can help you make healthy choices

Piles of sugar alcohol
June 17, 2024/Nutrition
What You Should Know About Sugar Alcohols

Often labeled as ‘diabetes-friendly’ or ‘calorie-free,’ these sugar substitutes warrant caution

Person prepping mason jars with meals
June 14, 2024/Nutrition
Should You Eat the Same Thing Every Day? Learn the Pros and Cons

Repeating your meals can help simplify meal planning and counting calories, but it could also lead to boredom and nutritional deficiencies

Person looking in fridge, filled with salad, milk, berries, veggies, juice
June 12, 2024/Wellness
Power Up: 10 Ways To Boost Your Energy Naturally

Making certain food and lifestyle choices can help keep your battery full

Older person applying skin cream to their face
June 7, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Benefits of Ferulic Acid as Part of Your Skin Care Routine

Ferulic acid can help make other antioxidant products more powerful

Shirataki Miracle noodles on chopsticks and in red bowl
May 20, 2024/Nutrition
4 Reasons To Give Shirataki (Miracle) Noodles a Try

Fiber-rich shirataki noodles may improve blood sugar, aid in digestion and help with weight loss

Assorted healthy foods spread out over a table and cutting boards
May 20, 2024/Digestive
What To Eat When You Have Diverticular Disease

Reducing inflammation is key when you’re in a flare-up, but so is having a preventive nutritional plan in place when you’re not

Healthcare provider talking with patient with overweight in office
May 17, 2024/Weight Loss
The HCG Diet Is Ineffective and Unsafe

The U.S. FDA prohibits HCG use without a prescription — and the hormone isn’t approved for weight loss at all

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims