Supplement Grows New Capillaries
We know that resveratrol minimizes negative estrogen effects and helps maximize natural testosterone. Turns out, it does even more.
Resveratrol: A New Benefit
The armchair nutritionists – the kind that get the bulk of their nutritional info from the Health Alerts on Yahoo – all know that the polyphenol resveratrol is something found in red wine and that it’s somehow related to healthy aging and long life.
Good for them, but that’s like believing you’re a presidential historian because you know that George Washington, or Millard Fillmore, or somebody way-back-when chopped down a cherry tree or something.
However, a savvy nutritionist, or one that at least knows their ass from a casaba melon growing in the ground, knows that resveratrol does much more than extend life (at least in some lab animals). It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It’s testosterone-elevating and aromatase-blocking. It’s even neuroprotective, to name just a few attributes.
More and more, though, it’s become apparent that resveratrol does something else, too: It situationally facilitates capillary growth.
Who Cares About Freakin’ Capillaries?
We know that resveratrol has vasodilation properties, meaning it “inflates” blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure while also allowing more blood flow.
It does this through four key molecular mechanisms, all of which are involved in the activation of an enzyme called endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), which leads to the production of nitric oxide (NO). It’s this NO that leads to blood vessels turning into a four-lane tunnel instead of a traffic-jammed two-lane tunnel.
This is good because bigger, more pliable blood vessels equate to less blood clotting and reduced blood pressure, less plaque formation, and erections that are not unlike a rung of a ladder – a Rhino Multi-Purpose Collapsible ladder with 330-pound load capacity, available on Amazon for $1601.99.
It’s become apparent that resveratrol does something else ladder-like, too. The stuff helps build capillary bridges – ladders, if you will – to reestablish and maintain blood flow to the heart when arteries need a little help. This process by which new capillaries grow is known as angiogenesis.
One stunning experiment found that “preconditioning” animals with resveratrol (giving it to them before intervention) increased the number of capillaries formed around their blocked coronary arteries in as little as three weeks, thus supporting heart function. It seemed to do this by increasing levels of a VEGF, a substance made by cells that prompts angiogenesis.
Forming “Ladders” to Muscles Too
Resveratrol also appears to build capillary ladders to muscle cells, at least in animals. By doing so, it makes muscle fibers more resistant to fatigue and more “age resistant” in general.
Apparently, when skeletal muscles age, they’re sometimes plagued by what’s known as “tubular aggregates” (TA), which are defined as a “subsarcolemmal accumulation of granular materials.”
I had a lot of trouble researching why exactly TAs are a problem. It seems their exact pathological significance is unknown, but one attractive theory is that they’re caused by injuries (or aging) to the sarcoplasmic reticulum (a membrane found in muscle tissues), which screws up the calcium flux, i.e., the reaction that enables muscle to contract and relax.
Anyhow, all those TAs lead to muscle weakness, but experiments with rats have found that relatively modest amounts of resveratrol (0.04% of diet) led to an enhanced capillary network that also reduced the number of TAs. This enhanced capillary network occurred independent of muscle fiber type (slow twitch to fast twitch, and all the variants in-between), which is cool because normally, type IIB fibers (fast twitch) have fewer capillaries to begin with.
This is significant because resistance to fatigue is positively correlated with capillary density. The more capillaries, the longer muscle fibers can continue to fire.
A Couple of Caveats
I need to remind you that these experiments took place in lab animals, but it’s not unrealistic to hope that humans might experience the same specific benefits from taking modest amounts of resveratrol.
Secondly, resveratrol seems to be rather fickle in which specific capillaries it chooses to nurture. For instance, it seems to inhibit capillary growth in animal tumors while, as this article described, it increases capillarization around the heart and, in at least one experiment, animal muscle fibers. Why it has this fickle nature isn’t clear.
There is at least one study, though, that found that resveratrol didn’t increase capillarization in exercising humans. It may well be that the resveratrol-induced angiogenesis occurs mainly in old farts and non-exercising striplings.
However, other experiments have shown that resveratrol enhances the energy-producing capability of mitochondria (the energy-producing organelles of the cell) in young and old athletes, which, by itself, has been shown to increase exercise endurance.
Resveratrol Sounds Great. Is There a Catch?
The same armchair nutritionists I mentioned in the first paragraph mostly think they can get all the resveratrol they need from their daily glasses of pinot, cabernet, or any other urine-of-the-Devil-tasting wine (sorry for the editorializing, I’m not much of a wine drinker). Well, theoretically, they could, only they’d have to drink about 140 bottles to get an effective dose of resveratrol – fine for Thor’s voluminous buddy Volstagg, but not so much for the rest of us.
But to be fair, you might be able to ingest enough resveratrol from a combination of whole foods or drinks to do you some good, but you’d have to eat an awful lot of blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, peanuts, and cocoa and do it consistently. Apologies for mixing Norse and Greek mythologies in the breath of two paragraphs, but it seems like a Herculean task.
In all honesty, a supplement is the logical choice. It usually is when it comes to polyphenols and carotenoids. That’s why Biotest made Rez-V™. Each gel cap contains 300 mg. of highly pure resveratrol. Take two every day for best results (the bulk of the research indicates that 600 mg. is the most effective dosage).
- Fukuda S et al. Resveratrol ameliorates myocardial damage by inducing vascular endothelial growth factor-angiogenesis and tyrosine kinase receptor Flk-1. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2006;44(1):43-9. PubMed.
- Kaga S et al. Resveratrol enhances neovascularization in the infarcted rat myocardium through the induction of thioredoxin-1, heme oxygenase-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2005 Nov;39(5):813-22. PubMed.
- Toniolo L et al. Long-term resveratrol treatment improves the capillarization in the skeletal muscles of ageing C57BL/6J mice. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Feb;72(1):37-44. PubMed.
Thanks for another well-referenced article @TC_Luoma. I’ve always struggled keeping my BP under control, even when I was in my 20s and extremely cardiovascularly active. I appreciate the articles on how to potentially stay alive longer/ minimize prescriptions.
Don’t forget cancer too:
Fuck high BP. My dad had it since his early twenties and I got it mid 20s. Fuckin no supplement works. Even prescription medication barely lowers it to acceptable range and I walk 15-18k steps a day and lift and do cardio on top of that. I take resveretrol+lycopene+pomegranate extract+telmisartan+amlodipine+micro dose cialis and still my BP is in the 140s but my erections are rock solid from this combination so I can’t complain I guess lol
Clearly some benefit then!
There is clearly some real genetic factors to BP and it’s a very stubborn beast. I have been able to lower mine significantly through a combination of medication and lifestyle, but I always have to be vigilant. If I eat a pizza or drink a beer, it’s going to be back up for days. I don’t doubt different folks have different responses to any intervention, because the baseline is so variable regardless of risk factors.
I’m also genetically predisposed to high BP, and was just reading about a couple of ways to reduce BP from ZHealth. The first involves isometric grip training and the second is a breathing exercise. Just started so can’t report any results yet. Lower Blood Pressure in 5 Minutes (2 Proven Approaches!) – Z-Health
I have an article in queue about how to use breathing exercise (using an inexpensive device) to reduce BP and simultaneously improve endurance. Should be up in a couple of weeks.
The Rez-V label says 3 capsules(serving size)=600mg, so I’m assuming 3 caps a day would be most effective, not two. Am I misreading?
I believe the old formula was a dose of three capsules. The label on the bottle I have now says to take two softgels for the 600 mg.
Looking forward to reading it. The article I mentioned suggests using a breather device to add resistance to inspiration.
Yes, what SBT said: 2 for 600 mg.
Yep, that’s what I wrote about. Been using it myself for several weeks.
I think it would be okay to give you a sneak peek, but don’t tell anyone:
Thank you very much for the sneak peak. I’m a huge fan of your site and TC’s content in particular.
Knowing that he’s trying the breathing exercise for BP is that much more of an insensitive to give it a shot.
P.S. and I will keep it to myself.
One other thing. If you haven’t read the book by James Nestor titled Breathe, I highly recommend it. Absolutely fascinating.
So answer me this: Since resveratrol may increase levels of VEGF, and since I receive monthly injections of a VEGF inhibitor directly into my eyeballs (not my favorite thing) to control wet macular degeneration, have I been making myself go blind by using REZ-V?
(BTW, the drug I receive is also used to treat certain cancers by preventing the formation of new blood vessels that would “feed” the tumor).
Oddly enough, resveratrol seems to inhibit VEGF when it comes to the eyes. I don’t know why it acts differently in the retina.